LAHORE: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has voiced grave concern over the cavalier manner of the authorities in closing down Lahore on Wednesday, apparently to prevent a protest.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the Commission said: “HRCP is shocked by the manner in which the government chose to practically shut down the city in an attempt to regulate a protest in the provincial capital on Wednesday.
“HRCP has never been happy with the government’s method of crowd management and has repeatedly called for Pakistan to benefit from well known recommendations, by experts working with the United Nations among others, on dealing with protests without resorting to excessive or disproportionate use of force or denying people the freedom of movement.
“While agitation or protests are regulated the world over, that is not done through shutting down the traffic for an entire city. As the people spent up to three hours stuck in traffic, they had neither been informed about the reasons for the closure of the city’s main arteries by placing shipping containers, nor about any alternative routes. It appears that no effort was made to minimize road users’ suffering. Neither was any attention paid to the loss of so many working hours on a weekday.
“HRCP must stress that the use of thoroughfares is a right that must not be denied to the people. We hope that the government learns the right lessons from Wednesday’s debacle and develops a policy for the future that seeks to alleviate the people’s discomfort even when protests need to be regulated.”