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Leaders of Labour Party Pakistan Arrested

2. May 2002

by: Rizwan Atta

Almost 25 members of Labour Party Pakistan have been arrested today on 26th April 2002 at 5:45 p.m., when they were holding a protest rally in front of Lahore Press Club in Lahore against Referendum. Police brutally baton charged all the participants including women, as a result most of them injured.

Farooq Tariq Secretary General LPP was also arrested. Other arrested persons include Moeen Nawaz Punno Chairman LPP Lahore, Azra Shad Chairperson Women Workers Help Line, Farah Naz Secretary Women Workers Help Line, Tariq Shehzad member LPP Central Unit, Shahid Mehmood organizer Printing and Graphic Workers Union, Maqbool Kharal Chairman Central Unit and many other activists of LPP.

The activists of LPP started gathering in the Lahore Press Club at 5:00 p.m. There were hundreds of policemen around the Press Club. At 5:30 protesters started their protest with pro democracy slogans. They were saying “No to Referendum”, “No to military regime”, ” We want democracy” and ” Musharraf go back”. Police with batons gathered around the protesters and started beating all the participants. There was no way to escape. Then police started capturing the activists and put them in to the police bus. The protesters resisted this process and the attack of police became more intense. Police want to arrest all the participants but there was no space in the police bus. In this process almost all the participants got injuries but some got serious injuries.

Yesterday police arrested many lawyers all across the country. They were protesting against Referendum. Many lawyers got serious injuries and were admitted to hospital. Nisar Shah organizer of the Democratic Labour Federation was also arrested in Karachi in a protest.

After the decision of General Musharraf to hold a Referendum to become President for five years, most of the political parties and social organization are protesting. Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy (ARD) rejected this Referendum. There is a lot of unrest in Pakistan due to the policies of military regime. Political parties see this Referendum as an attempt to prolong the regime and built a parliament dependent on the President.

LPP Chairman Shoaib Bhatti strongly condemned these arrests and the attack by the police. LPP said that military regime is using fascist methods to stop any voice against its policies. LPP said that it would continue its struggle against the military regime. LPP appealed to send protest letters to Pakistani Embassies and take proper action in this regard.

Reported by Rizwan Atta