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LAHORE: The Punjab government on Wednesday imposed Article 144 in Lahore ahead of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) election rally.
The notification issued by the additional chief secretary read, “Following the recent wave of terrorism and new threat alerts, it has become necessary to impose Article 144 on holding all kinds of meetings, conferences, meetings, conferences, proceedings, demonstrations, jalsa, dharnas, protests and other such activities in all parts of Lahore to prevent any untoward incident.”
Section 144 will be enforced in Lahore from Wednesday to Wednesday for seven days, the notification said.
PTI’s election rally is scheduled to start from Zaman Park. After passing through Mall Road Underpass, FC College Underpass, Ichhra, Ferozepur road near Muslim Town Morr, Samnabad, LOS Chowk, Lytton Road, MAO College, PMG Chowk, Government College and Central Model School, it is scheduled to end at the Data Darbar.
Scores of PTI workers were taken into police custody for violating Article 144. All roads leading to PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s Zaman Park residence were closed. Water cannons were used to chase away the PTI workers while police personnel also smashed the windows of their vehicles. The group’s official Twitter page also shared the picture. Sharing another video, he said they arrested their ‘peace workers’. PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry shared a video of a water being used to disperse PTI workers.
The PTI chairman said that his party has launched its election campaign with at least 55 days in the elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. “Under which law, Punjab caretaker government is using massive police violence against unarmed workers to stop our assembly?” he asked.
“The only duty of the caretaker government is to ensure fair and free elections. What they are doing is attacking the law, our law and democracy. Above all, once the Supreme Court judgment was overruled, it is now the law of the jungle,” he said. In her suspicion of the government’s coercive measures, PTI’s Shireen Mazari said that Lahore appears to be under martial law with roads blocked, and unarmed officers arresting and taking away sound systems.
He said, “Crook Naqvi is using all the fascist tactics.” Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah defended the Punjab government’s decision to impose Article 144 in the capital.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, he said three rallies were happening at the same time: Aurat March, Jamaat-i-Islami’s ‘Haya March’ and PTI’s march. He said that all three shows were produced in the same area.
In this situation, any event can occur. PTI President Farrukh Habib said that a party worker, Ali Bilal alias Zal Shah, was killed by the police during tear gas firing. However, PTI media cells said that violence by state machinery led to the death of three party workers.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023