Rangers to protect Pak PM house amid anti-govt protest

Pakistan government today called in paramilitary forces to protect the palatial residence of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif here, amid fears that the supporters of anti-government cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri may attack his house.

PTI| Last Updated: Aug 10, 2014, 00:23 AM IST

Lahore: Pakistan government today called in paramilitary forces to protect the palatial residence of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif here, amid fears that the supporters of anti-government cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri may attack his house.

"There has been a fear that the supporters of Qadri may march towards the Sharif family house in Lahore," a senior Punjab police officer told PTI.

Police said the Canada-based Pakistani cleric had asked his supporters to attack the Sharifs residence if they were stopped to attend his `Martyrs` Day` gathering in Lahore tomorrow.

Qadri, chief of Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT), has announced that his group will hold the gathering tomorrow in protest of the killings of his 14 activists in a police attack at the party headquarters in Model Town on June 17.

"Since the police have failed to stop Qadri`s supporters in most parts of the province from removing containers, the government has decided to call in the Rangers for the protection of the Sharifs residence," the official said.

Nine people were killed and over 1,000 injured as the supporters of Qadri clashed with security forces and took seven policemen hostage in different parts of Punjab province when they tried to remove containers used by police as roadblocks to prevent them to attend the PAT`s martyrs` day?at the cleric`s residence.

More than 400 containers have been been placed across Punjab, a province of 90 million people, to stop Qadri`s supporters from reaching Lahore.

The whole province has virtually come to standstill as motorways and highways are closed after placing containers.
The government has also closed all filling stations across 36 districts of Punjab province.

Sharif arrived here after attending the National Security Conference in Islamabad by his plane. He left for his Jati Umera residence, sprawling 400 acres, by a helicopter from the Lahore airport.

Police have already blocked all roads leading to the premier`s residence by placing containers. Meanwhile, Punjab Inspector General Police Mushtaq Sukhera has ordered removing of containers across Punjab.

"We are going to remove containers as there are reports of terrorism," the IGP said. Qadri, in a fresh address today, asked his supporters to observe the `Martyrs` Day at their districts if they could not manage to come to Lahore.