Home Latest News Punjab Government Imposes Section 144 for Seven Days

Punjab Government Imposes Section 144 for Seven Days

PTI claims decision aimed at preventing it from staging protests calling for the release of Imran Khan

by Staff Report

File photo. Arif Ali—AFP

The Punjab government on Friday imposed Section 144 throughout the province, banning any public gatherings with five or more people, with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) claiming the decision aimed to prevent its supporters from staging protests calling for the release of incarcerated founder Imran Khan.

Earlier the PTI had announced it would stage nationwide protests on Friday afternoon to demand the release of Khan. The party has issued several similar calls since the Feb. 8 general elections, but has struggled to gather crowds outside of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, where it is in government.

In its order announcing the imposition of Section 144, the Punjab Home Department said it would remain in place for seven days and came into effect immediately. “It has been observed that in view of the prevailing law and order situation and security threats, any gathering/assembly is likely to provide soft targets to terrorists and miscreants, which not only pose serious security threats but is also likely to cause threat to public at peace and order as well as inconvenience to public at large,” it said, adding that the move was necessary to prevent “certain activities” from proceeding in the province.

Prior to the issuance of the Home Department’s notification, the PTI had alleged the provincial government had arrested several PTI leaders in a bid to hamper their planned protest. Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Omar Ayub also raised the issue on the floor of the House, claiming the imposition of Section 144 was a constitutional violation.

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