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PTI workers 'clash' with police over traffic violation in Rawalpindi.

RAWALPINDI -- A police officer was allegedly assaulted by a Punjab minister and a group of political workers after a minor quarrel over a car carrying a provincial minister driving on the wrong side of the road descended into chaos.

Police have launched a probe into the matter to ascertain the truth.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) member and Punjab Minister for Literacy and Non-Formal Education Minister Raja Rashid Hafeez, along with senior officials of the city, including Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) Chairman Arif Abbasi were on their way to the inauguration ceremony of a spring festival in Shamsabad public park on Sunday evening.

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The police though, signalled their car to stop because it was driving on the wrong side of the Murree Road.

On being stopped, the car's occupants engaged in a minor quarrel with the traffic wardens but then left the car at the spot and went to attend the ceremony.

Later, Abbasi's son Farhan went to Murree Road to pick up the vehicle. There, he allegedly quarrelled with the traffic wardens.

Traffic wardens claimed that they were taking legal action against the vehicle when Farhan arrived at the spot and started misbehaving with the deputy superintendent of police (DSP) overseeing proceedings. At this, the DSP ordered to shift him to the New Town police station.

Farhan claimed that the traffic warden continuously struck him as they travelled to the police station.

The police were in the middle of writing up a complaint against Farhan when the MPA, Abbasi and 40 other PTI workers arrived at the station and allegedly started assaulting officers, including the DSP inside the station.

The DSP claimed that his wireless radio, which is pinned on his chest, has been missing ever since the scuffle.

He further claimed that the minister tore his shirt but was unable to present any torn pieces of clothing before the media.

As the situation grew tense, New town SHO Raja Musaadiq intervened.

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When asked, Punjab Minister Hafeez refuted the allegations of the traffic wardens and stated that the people of the city were a witness that they had never politicked over police stations.

He added the police's duty was to issue tickets to commuters for violating the traffic rules, not to assault them.

Responding to allegations that he had torn a senior police officer's shirt, Hafeez said that there were videos of the entire incident which showed everything clearly, including the language and the tone adopted by the traffic wardens.

'The warden's uniform is in its original condition,' he maintained.

Abbasi claimed that instead of issuing a ticket to his son, the traffic wardens opted to beat him up.

Later, the Rawal Division SP Usman Butt and New Town ASP Ziauddin arrived at the precinct and launched an inquiry.

New Town SHO Musaddiq said that he had seen the minister enter the park just as when he was exiting it. He added that he saw a crowd gathered around a vehicle parked outside.

When he got closer, he saw that traffic wardens were taking a youngster away.

He further said that he had spoken to the provincial minister over the issue and asked him to go to the police station to review and amicably resolve the matter.

'We both left for the station in our own cars, however, the minister managed to reach there before me,' he told. The SHO further added that when he entered the precinct, he saw a quarrel raging between the station staff, the minister and PTI workers but did not see anyone tear anything.
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Publication:The Express Tribune (Karachi, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Apr 23, 2019
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