Pakistan Supreme Court orders removal of all barricades in Lahore

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Traffic is flowing smoothly after the removal of barricades. (AN photo by Malik Shafiq)
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Traffic is flowing smoothly after the removal of barricades. (AN photo by Malik Shafiq)
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Traffic is flowing smoothly after the removal of barricades. (AN photo by Malik Shafiq)
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Traffic is flowing smoothly after the removal of barricades. (AN photo by Malik Shafiq)
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Traffic is flowing smoothly after the removal of barricades. (AN photo by Malik Shafiq)
Updated 12 February 2018

Pakistan Supreme Court orders removal of all barricades in Lahore

LAHORE: Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Sunday ordered authorities in Punjab to remove all “encroachments” in the provincial capital Lahore by midnight.
Security agencies had erected barricades in front of public offices and residences of high-profile individuals living in the city, including politicians, bureaucrats and police officers.
Chief Justice Saqib Nisar rejected the provincial government’s argument that the barricades were needed to protect notable individuals, saying other security measures should be adopted that do not violate the rights of Lahore’s residents. Following the court order, police removed all barricades throughout the city.
“Life has become easier for all motorists” since the removal of the barricades, Shafiq Chaudhry, a resident of the town of Qila Gujjar Singh, told Arab News.
“It used to take me 10 minutes to cover the area where the police had installed the barricades. Today, I traveled the same distance in 30 seconds.”
Students hailed the removal of barricades outside the office of the Inspector General Police, which is situated near some of the best educational institutes in Lahore.
“I want to dance on the road in front of the police office,” Saadia Khan, a student of the National College of Arts, told Arab News. “I never thought I’d be able to experience a hassle-free ride on this road.”
Deputy Inspector General Dr. Haider Ashraf said barricades had been removed from 16 locations in Lahore, in compliance with the court order. “The traffic is running smoothly in most of the areas now,” he added.
Minivan driver Talib Hussain told Arab News: “Sometimes we’d wait more than 30 minutes to pass through one crossing in the city, (but) traffic is flowing quite smoothly across the city since its roads have been cleared of unnecessary hurdles.”


Pakistan ‘wants to play its role’ for peace in Middle East – FO

Updated 12 January 2020

Pakistan ‘wants to play its role’ for peace in Middle East – FO

  • Work on foreign minister’s visit to Saudi Arabia, Iran and the United States being done
  • Pakistan’s strong relations with regional countries has made it an important player

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated on Thursday that the country was going to play its role in restoring peace in the Middle East by working with other international stakeholders in the region.

“Pakistan welcomes de-escalation and wants to play its role in ensuring peace and stability in the region. We have seen that indication in United States President [Donald] Trump’s speech and are evaluating its contours,” the country’s foreign office spokesperson, Aisha Farooqui, said in her weekly media briefing in Islamabad on Thursday.

She said that Pakistan’s geographical position, along with its strong relations with regional countries and the United States, had made it a significant player in the Middle East.

“Pakistan has maintained that war is not the solution to any issue and made it clear that it will not become part of any regional conflict,” she said.

The spokesperson noted that Islamabad had enhanced its efforts to defuse tensions in the region and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had contacted his counterparts in Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and many other important states in this connection.

“All the international players, including Saudi Arabia, have said that the region cannot afford another war and asked for restraint from both parties [the US and Iran]. It’s a collective objective of all countries to ensure peace and stability in the Middle East,” she said.

Commenting on the foreign minister’s upcoming visit to Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the US, she said that “work on these tours has already started and they will take place as soon as dates are finalized with the respective countries.”

“We are very mindful for our brotherly and friendly relations with Saudi Arabia, Iran, and other regional countries. Pakistan and the US also enjoy longstanding relations and have contacts with each other through multiple forums including political and military leadership,” Farooqui said, adding that the foreign office had established a task force to continuously monitor the situation in the Middle East and inform the government about it along with its suggestions on a daily basis.

The spokesperson expressed hope that recent developments in the Middle East would not affect the ongoing Afghan peace process.

“Pakistan hopes that progress made on Afghan peace process will not come to a halt and the world community will not lose its focus as a result of the ongoing tensions in the Middle East,” she said.

Asked about the safety of Pakistani nationals in Iraq, she said the country’s embassy in Baghdad was on the alert to deal with any emergency situation.

“We are concerned about the safety of Pakistani citizens in Iraq and have issued an advisory in this regard. We have also instructed our mission in Baghdad to remain vigilant to deal with any emergency,” Farooqui said.