Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Wednesday claimed that its ‘peaceful’ workers were arrested in Lahore soon after reports emerged that the provincial capital had been placed under Section 144, banning public gatherings.
Details on the arrested workers remain unclear.
According to a notification being shared on social media, the Punjab caretaker government has imposed a ban on all kinds of assemblies, gatherings and rallies under “serious security threats” and fears of “disruption of traffic”.
❌ NO rallies, gatherings permitted in Punjab
Section 144 imposed in District Lahore
People of Lahore reporting road closures, barricades across the city and arrests of @PTIofficial workers pic.twitter.com/ghM3ia3gZY
— Shafek Koreshe (@shafeKoreshe) March 8, 2023
It may be noted that the PTI was scheduled to hold a rally today for a power show in the provincial capital.
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Furthermore, Aurat March was also scheduled to take place today near Faletti’s hotel after the Lahore High Court (LHC) had ruled that ensuring the safety of the rally’s participants was the responsibility of the local administration.
PTI chief and former premier Imran Khan questioned under what law the caretaker government of Punjab imposed the ban considering that “hardly 55 days [are] left” for elections to take place in the province after the dissolution of the provincial assembly.
SC 5-mbr bench orders elections in Punjab & KP in 90 days, asking President to announce date which he does – 30 April. With hardly 55 days left, PTI kicks off election rally in Lahore. Under what law, & in brazen contempt of SC, Punjab Caretaker govt uses massive police violence
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) March 8, 2023
Imran said that the ban was in “brazen contempt of the [Supreme Court’s] SC”.
Last week, the apex court had ordered that President Arif Alvi should announce the date of the Punjab Assembly election, while the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) governor would set the election date of the provincial assembly in consultation with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
Azhar lashes out at caretaker govt
Former federal minister and PTI leader Hammad Azhar took the caretaker setup in Punjab to task for “taking dictation” and engaging in political persecution against his party.
Speaking at Zaman Park, he said that the government was actively blocking the party from holding its rally.
“The premises have been blocked by containers, our workers are being arrested, our flags were being transported and the vehicle was also attacked,” he claimed.
“I implore this so-called non-partisan caretaker government: your constitutional purpose is to hold polls, and you are saying that for the next seven days, there will be no public gatherings in the city,” he said as he stressed that the election date had already been fixed for April 30 and the schedule is expected to be issued by the ECP today.
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“What kind of elections will you be holding if no political activity is permitted?” he questioned.
He claimed that on Tuesday night he spoke with the SSP operations and reviewed the security situation in the provincial capital and no such concerns were raised at the time.
“And just now the imposed controversial government of Mohsin Naqvi has imposed the ban [on gatherings] in Lahore,” he said claiming that the move was politically motivated.