PTI allowed to hold rally in Lahore today

In this 2012 file photo, supporters of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf shout slogans during a rally to support Pakistans top Supreme Court in Islamabad. -AFP

LAHORE: District administration allowed Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to carry out a public rally with several conditions including that no speeches will be made against constitutional offices, armed forces and judiciary. In this regard, the Deputy Commissioner, Lahore wrote a letter to the PTI’s Lahore President Sheikh Imtiaz Mahmood and gave him permission to hold the PTI rally on March 13, 2023 (today) from Zaman Park to Data Darbar.

The DC’s letter stated that since holding of public rally in Lahore entailed high-security risk due to general and specific threats against political gatherings and previous instances of attack on the ex-prime minister Imran Khan in Wazirabad, the permission on the proposed route was being issued after submission of undertaking by the organiser to the effect that in case of any untoward incident, he shall be held responsible.

In view of the overall security situation and threat alerts received from different quarters, the organisers are once again cautioned and advised to undertake all required precautionary measures in and around the venue for the safety of participants and the general public since this public gathering is being convened at their call, the letter said.

Officials said District Administration and District Police propose to issue NOC for holding PTI public rally in Lahore today subject to several conditions.

The main conditions of the permission letter included that no speeches against constitutional offices, armed forces and judiciary shall be uttered. No one shall be allowed to be part of the rally with batons. There shall be no utterance which is likely to injure the feeling of any religious group/party/sect. Display of firearms shall be strictly prohibited and fireworks shall not be used. A peaceful atmosphere shall be maintained at all times and objectionable and offensive slogans shall be prohibited.

DC Rafia Haider also said, in her letter, that the organisers will be responsible for ensuring the security of all participants, and routes and will take measures for controlling the stampede. She further said the organisers will nominate focal persons who will coordinate with the Superintendent of Police concerned and SP Traffic Police to ensure the smooth conduct of the rally.

“Traffic police will devise and implement comprehensive traffic plans for ensuring proper traffic flow. Traffic police will issue and implement a detailed traffic plan and advisory for the event,” she said in the letter.

The DC further said the organiser shall be responsible for any damage to the public property. The use of deck/sound systems shall be regulated under the provisions of the Punjab Sound Systems (Regulation) Ordinance, 2015.

The volunteers/razakars of the organiser shall be responsible to control the participants of the public rally and make sure that participants remain all and disciplined on the route while being searched, DC’s letter maintained and said the organisers shall ensure that children will not be brought to the public gathering and no one shall be forced to close their business.

No mobile van or any other vehicle shall be used for the announcement of the public gathering. No reception desks by the organisers shall be established without prior knowledge and approval of the district police which will allow the establishment of reception desks at designated spots, DC letter added.

DC Lahore also banned the organisers from doing any kind of wall chalking in any part of the city regarding the public gathering while the streamers and banners shall only be hanged after approval from the PHA and no banner/streamer, if allowed by PHA, shall contain any objectionable contents.

The DC further told the organisers that no one shall be forced to attend the public gathering in any other District and for the safety of the general public, maintenance of law and order and normalcy at the venue, district police shall check/search any vehicle/person coming to attend the public gathering and no hindrance shall be created by the organisers in this regard.

The DC also bound the organisers of the rally that no effigy or flag of any other political or religious party or any person belonging to any country shall be burnt.

She said the administration/management of public gatherings shall fully cooperate with district police for ensuring different arrangements. “The organisers shall ensure that workers/participants coming from out of district abide by the conditions under which the permission is being granted,” she stated in her letter.

The organisers shall make sure that all the conditions are fulfilled/observed till the Public Rally comes to an end and the workers/participants were dispersed peacefully and reach their destinations, the DC said and directed that the organizers will ensure that the rally will end before 5:30 pm.

“The operation of this NOC shall be subject to any subsequent guidelines/ directions Issued by the Government. Copies of this letter were also sent to all concerned departments.

Meanwhile, according to sources, two companies of Rangers have been deployed in the city to help police maintain law and order, sources said.

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