Lahore: Police have arrested over 500
activists of the Sunni Ittehad Council from different parts of
Punjab province to prevent them from gathering for a public
meeting at the Minar-e-Pakistan here today, officials said.
The arrests were made after the Punjab government led
by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif refused to allow the Council
to hold the public meeting at the monument for "security
Council chairman Sahibzada Fazal Karim, however, asked
activists to reach the venue at any cost and to stage sit-ins
wherever they were stopped by police.
Another Sunni Ittehad Council leader Muhammad Nawaz
Kharal said the group`s central vice chairman Muhammad Afzal
Qadri and five top leaders of different Sunni organizations
had been taken into custody by police at the Minar-e-Pakistan,
where they had gathered to oversee arrangements for the
"Not less than 600 activists, including 200 from
Minar-e-Pakistan, have been captured by police," Kharal
He said he feared more arrests would be made as
motorcades of activists from across the country were reaching
Lahore to take part in the meet.
A senior police officer said the organizers of the
meeting had earlier reached an understanding with the local
administration that they would hold the "Istehkam-e-Pakistan"
(Stable Pakistan) conference at Attique Stadium near Lahore
Fort but they "backed out at the last minute".
Lahore police chief Muhammad Aslam Tareen said nobody
would be allowed to gather at the Minar-e-Pakistan following
the government`s orders.