Islamabad Police on Thursday announced a complete ban on protests in and around courts, adding that Section 144 had been imposed in the federal capital.
In a statement, the capital police said only lawyers, journalists and people facing trials would be allowed to enter court premises. “High alert orders have been issued in light of terrorism and other threats,” it said, urging the public to report any unusual activity to law enforcement personnel.
The decision to ban demonstrations near courts appears to be motivated by the alleged vandalism of a judicial complex by workers and supporters of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) when party chief Imran Khan appeared in court earlier this week to secure bail in several cases.
During Khan’s appearance, PTI supporters breached security arrangements at the judicial complex, removing barriers aimed at restricting entry, and damaging the main gate and other parts of the building. Police have already registered a case against Khan and several PTI leaders under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) and other charges over the alleged assault on the judicial complex, with a spokesperson claiming that 25 people had already been taken into custody and raids were underway to secure the remaining culprits who had “damaged” government property.