Punjab imposes section 144 in Lahore ahead of PTI rally, Aurat March


Punjab government imposed Section 144 in Lahore banning public rallies in the provincial capital ahead of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) rally and Aurat March scheduled today.

In a notification issued on Wednesday, the Punjab 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. Thus, the Lahore Aurat March and PTI rally won’t be possible.

The notification said that there is also a history of terrorist activities in the rallies/protests, wherein, a number of police officials and civilians embarrassed martyrdom. “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.

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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 order stated.

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.

The PTI election rally, led by former Prime Minister Imran Khan, is 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 will culminate at Data Darbar. He will address the rally at Data Darbar and announce his future line of action.