LAHORE - Many people in Lahore defied the ban on aerial firing and fireworks to welcome the New Year late Tuesday night despite police crackdown on troublemakers.

Special parties are scheduled to take place at the farmhouses located in the suburb of Lahore including Raiwind Road, Barki Road, Bedian Road, Canal Road, and Defense Road. Popular restaurants in Gulberg, Model Town and Defense have also planned parties on the eve of New Year Night.

Some event manager say sever cold is unlikely to affect their businesses this year since they were receiving more orders from the customers. “The trend of arranging dance parties at private places including farmhouses is growing among the elite of the town. Each ticket is sold in tens of thousands of rupees,” says an event manager.

At some dance parties, he said, all “items” including alcohol and drugs are offered to clients with guarantee of no-police-raid. Several guesthouses located in the posh localities last week had stopped more bookings because of high-demand.

Defiance, aerial firing, dances welcome 2020

The barrooms witnessed huge rush of shoppers during the previous week. At least four leading hotels are running barrooms with liquor of various brands on sale in abundant.

“A good number of people are buying liquor from local hotels in panic to avoid whisky shortage on the eve of New Year,” a bootlegger said. He said only the members of Christian community are given liquor bottles on special permits. However, most of the customers belonged to the Muslim population, he said. According to him, a bottle of locally-made liquor is available at controlled (official) rate of Rs750 to Rs950 but the bootleggers usually sell a bottle at Rs1700 to Rs2000 to their clients.

On New Year Night, city police often play hide and seek with the bootleggers and middlemen associated with the prostitution trade to grab bribe. Generally, the policemen step up patrolling around the leading hotels and brothels to nab the bootleggers and other clients. Despite crackdowns, the police are unable to stop the business of prostitution and liquor in the town.

On the other hand, heavy police contingents have been deployed across the metropolis to punish troublemakers. An official said the police are ordered to arrest all those found involved in aerial firing, one-wheeling, or immoral activities on the eve of New Year.

According to officials, thousands of police are deployed at shopping plazas, markets, food streets, and foreign food chains. The police are also directed to take strict action against eve-teasers and troublemakers and those found involved in one-wheeling, aerial firing at dancing and musical parties. The police have also set up temporary pickets on all major roads of the metropolis to stop and arrest the violators particularly those found involved in one-wheeling.

Punjab IGP Shoaib Dastagir directed the police to ensure unbiased action against the elements involved in hooliganism during the celebrations of New Year and details of all such actions from all districts should be shared with the Central Police office.

In a press statement, the IGP further directed senior officers to personally review the security arrangements at sensitive places and ensure smooth flow of traffic on all major roads. He also directed the field officers to ensure security monitoring through Safe City’s cameras in addition to armed patrolling of Dolphin and PRU squads so that troublemakers could not disturb the law-abiding citizens.

The provincial police chief issued these directions through a directive to all RPOs, CPOs, and DPOs including Lahore CCPO on Tuesday. All field officers are directed to ensure strict legal action against one wheeling, aerial firing and hooliganism without any delay while effective implementation of sound System Act 2015 must also be ensured.

In Lahore, the police have collected surety bonds from the parents of habitual offenders involved in one-wheeling, racing, aerial firing, and hooliganism. The police chief also requested parents to keep an eye on their children so that they would not indulge in any kind of criminal activity.