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Pakistan

Punjab government lifts Section 144 in Lahore

  • Order was imposed on Wednesday ahead of PTI’s rally in the city
Published March 9, 2023

The Government of Punjab’s Home Department on Thursday withdrew Section 144 in Lahore that was imposed on Wednesday ahead of a rally held by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the provincial capital.

In a notification, the department said “order dated 08-03-2023 issued by the Home Department to prohibit all kinds of assemblies, gatherings, sits-in, rallies, processions, demonstrations, jalsas, dharnas, protests and such like other activities within the territorial jurisdiction of district Lahore under Section 144(6) of ‘The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898’ for a period of 07 days is hereby withdrawn with immediate effect.”

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The provincial government on Wednesday had imposed Section 144 in Lahore, banning public gatherings ahead of PTI’s rally.

In a notification, the Home Department said “it has been observed that number of rallies and protests are held therein on daily basis at different places of District Lahore, which not only pose serious security threats but also disrupt traffic and cause inconvenience to public at large.”

There is also a history of terrorist activities in the rallies/ protests, wherein a number of police officials and civilians embraced shahadat, it added.

The order had come as the PTI prepared to kickstart its election campaign from the provincial capital. The party had planned a procession from Zaman Park to Data Darbar.

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Following the Punjab government’s order, the police sealed roads near Zaman Park and arrested a few PTI workers. It also stopped female participants using water cannons and tear gas shelling.

PTI leader Hammad Azhar said that party workers would remain in their constitutional and legal limits even if police resorted to violence.

According to police, PTI workers had been arrested from Zaman Park and Canal Road. This led the PTI to call of the rally and it ordered its workers to return to their homes in peaceful manner.

Later on Wednesday, PTI said that one of its workers was killed in the police crackdown against the party workers in Lahore.

In a Twitter post, PTI chief Imran Khan claimed that the party worker, identified as Ali Bilal, “was killed while in police custody.”

Rana Sanaullah defends decision

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah defended the Punjab government’s decision to impose Section 144 in the provincial capital.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, he said three rallies were happening simultaneously: Aurat March, Jamaat-e-Islami’s ‘Haya March’ and the PTI’s march. He said all three demonstrations were taken out in the same vicinity. In this situation, any incident may take place.

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