LAHORE: Several Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) workers have been arrested from the Zaman Park area for violating Section 144 in the provincial capital, police said on Wednesday.
The party workers were taken into custody from the Zaman Park area where PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s residence is located, after the Punjab Home Department imposed Section 144 banning public rallies ahead of the PTI’s election rally and Aurat March scheduled today.
In a notification issued today, the Home Department observed that number of rallies and protests are held therein on daily basis at different places of Lahore, which not only pose serious security threats but also disrupt traffic and cause inconvenience to public at large.
“Hence, in the context of the prevailing overall security situation in the wake of the recent wave of terrorism and latest threat alerts, it has been necessary to impose Section 144 of Cr.P.C, 1898 on holding of all kinds of assemblies, gatherings, sits-in, rallies, processions, demonstrations, jalsas, dharnas, protests and such like other activities across the district Lahore to avert any untoward incident,” the notification added issued by Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Shakeel Ahmed.
The order stated that due to prevailing threats, it is essential to ensure security of the people and installations/buildings against any potential terrorist or untoward activity, in the larger interest of public safety, security, peace and tranquility.
The ban on public rallies hours before the Aurat March on the occasion of International Women’s Day and PTI’s election rally is likely to receive a strong backlash from civil society.
‘PTI workers being arrested’
PTI leader Hammad Azhar, while speaking to the media persons, said that a large number of people will attend today’s rally.
“How can you ban public gatherings when elections are taking place on April 30?” asked Azhar.
Asking the party workers to remain calm, Azhar said that they haven’t taken law into their own hands.
“The rally was supposed to begin in a while but the roads are being blocked now,” he said, adding that their workers are being arrested.
The PTI leader alleged that Rana Sanaullah wants bloodshed but the party will not give them a chance to do so. “They have imposed a ban on public gatherings to stop the rally,” he added.
Azhar said the caretaker chief minister is obstructing the democratic process, however, his job is to only conduct elections. “It is not right to violate human rights just ahead of the elections.”
He said that [the government] wants to create a Model Town-like situation in Zaman Park.
“The SSP had okayed the security situation last night but now a ban has been imposed,” he added.
The PTI election rally, led by Imran Khan, was scheduled to commence from Zaman Park and after passing through the Mall Road Underpass, FC College Underpass, Ichhra, Ferozepur Road close to Muslim Town Morr, Samnabad, LOS Chowk, Lytton Road, MAO College, PMG Chowk, Government College and Central Model School, it was to culminate at Data Darbar.
Khan was expected to address the rally at Data Darbar and announce his future line of action.