Friday, June 13

Crossing Gujranwala and jumping barriers - Update from LPP

At Gujranwala, a city around 70 kilometers from Lahore, it was once again the same scene as all the way from Lahore: hundreds of youth raising slogans against Musharraf. It is 1 am. Still hundreds of people on the road to welcome the Long March.

All along the way, it was jubilation and slogans and a lot abuse heaped on Musharraf. Maybe over 100,000 have waved hands to our over 1,000 vehicles in the Long March. At one time, while I was speaking to KTN, a Sindhi TV channel, hundreds of youth surrounded our bus and raised popular slogans like "go Musharaf go!" It was broadcasted live through my telephone.

At Lahore, while we were stuck for half an hour, a comrade told us that Mian Nawaz Sharif, the former prime minister, is going to speak at a rally to welcome the Long March. We decided to have our own rally while all the traffic was stuck.

Over 100 of us with red flags headed for the place where Nawaz Sharif was going to speak. Many more (in the hundreds) followed us. We were raising slogans and waving our flags. Near the rally venue, when we were stopped by the police, we pushed them to go further. Next there were barricades to stop people from going near the platform. I was the first one to jump the barricades despite all the efforts of the police to stop us. Then there were four women who jumped over.

The police were very rough, so were we as well. Police overpowered our comrades who were unable to jump. They asked us to go back. We refused point-blank. The Superintendent threatened me with arrest. I became more vocal at this point and started shouting at them. They had to retreat. We went ahead - very close to the platform - five of us, four women and myself with red flags.

We were cheered by some from the platform, including Nawaz Sharif. Others were Aitezaz Ahsan, Saad Rafique and Iqbal Haider of HRCP.

Some TV channels showed our encounter with the police live and a lot of press photographers were seen taking photos. I was later called by Daily Dawn asking if I had been manhandled. I told them the whole story.

Thousands cheered our action and showed V signs on our return.

At Gujranwala city center, we got out of our buses and raised slogans at 1.30 AM. Here over 5000 had gathered and we were surrounded immediately by hundreds.

We have been offered and given food and drinks all way. A lot of rose petals on all the buses.

Here one person commented when I opened my window, "Go and get rid of Musharraf and I am also coming to Islamabad!"

In Solidarity,
Farooq Tariq

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This behaviour is stupid. Follow the police advice which is there to protect NS and other people.

Don't do boneheaded things like jumping barriers. People with bad intentions can also jump in.. or pretend to be "jiyalas" like you and get close to their targets.

Stop thinking like victims all the time. Punjab police is working on YOUR side for a change.

Also, what the hell was that "putlaa" with the deathmask?

silly idea.

Oh and good luck on the walk, but please don't do stupid things that could give entry to some bad people. Try to control yourselves.