LAHORE: In the absence of any other avenue to celebrate the onset of the new year, young Lahorites one-wheeled into the streets.
As the sun of 2017 finally set, youth in groups started pouring in on the main roads of Lahore. Many of them were without silencers. They continued roaming on different roads of the city cheering and shouting and kept on shifting from one road to another. Some of them gathered in groups in the middle of the road, set music on and started dancing. Their steps caused immense traffic jam causing nuisance to the public. In such traffic jams, law enforcement agencies were not able to reach the spot hence leaving the commuters with the joyous young generation.
Many of them also remained busy in wheelies and performing acrobatics on their vehicles. Many incidents of manhandling, eve-teasing and scuffles were also reported.
The mess created by motorcyclists and hurdles set by police led to worst traffic jams. Bumper to bumper jam was reported on the New Year eve on almost all the major roads of the provincial metropolis.
Despite Punjab government’s zero-tolerance policy on display of arms and aerial firing, stuttering sounds of bullets remained order of the night. Those who did not opt these ways to express themselves chose fire-works as a part of their celebrations. Sky was brightened by flashes of different colours of fireworks on the night.
However, the city police had made special arrangements to tackle the situation. The New Year eve celebrations were facing serious security threats as the banned militant outfit, Islamic State (Daesh), after Quetta Church attack had threatened to attack Christmas and New Year celebrations throughout the world.
To tackle the threats, police increased checking at entry and exit points of the city. They also conducted search operations in different parts of the city and arrested dozens of suspects who failed to prove their identity during combing operations.
Besides, pickets were held on almost all the major roads of the city to check any suspicious person or activity. Operations DIG Dr Haider Ashraf said that at least 110 vehicles of Police Response Unit, 272 teams of Dolphin Squad and 194 vehicles of operations wing remained on patrol in the city on the occasion. Security was enhanced at vulnerable establishments, mosques, churches, parks and markets.
Capital City Police Officer Amin Wains said that they deployed at least 15,000 police officials to maintain law and order on the occasion.
A night before the New Year eve, police had launched a crackdown against drug dealers and motorcyclists. Civil Lines, City and other divisions of Lahore Police claimed to arrest dozens of drug dealers and recovered huge quantities of drugs from their custody.
Moreover, hundreds of motorcycles were also impounded. Additionally, Iqbal Town Police claimed to impound 112 motorcycles without complete documents on Saturday night.
City Traffic Police also deployed extra-wardens to deal with traffic jam in the city. Anti-one wheeling squad in collaboration with Dolphin Squad remained on vital points for one-wheeling and busted many one-wheelers. CTPL also continued their awareness campaign to discourage one-wheeling on the New Year night. They distributed pamphlets during the whole week including the day before the New Year.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 1st, 2018.
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