Section 144 imposed across Punjab amid rising unrest

Protest demonstrations and gatherings banned across province for two days following PTI chairman Imran Khan’s arrest

NEWSDESK   May 09, 2023


The interim provincial government enforced Section 144 across Punjab on Tuesday for two days following the rising unrest after the arrest of former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan in the Al-Qadir Trust case.

The PTI chairman’s arrest at the Islamabad High Court triggered countrywide protests, threatens fresh turmoil with multiple cities across Pakistan witnessing demonstrations on his party's call.

The imposition of Section 144 is a response to escalating unrest and a measure to maintain law and order after reports of arson and violent protests from different parts of the province.

A notification was also issued by the interim provincial government for the imposition of Section 144 across the province.

The notification cited the reason for imposing Section 144 as the ongoing protests and rallies following the arrest of “a political leader”, which pose security threats, can disrupt traffic, and cause inconvenience to the public.

“There is also a history of terrorist activities in the rallies/protests, wherein, a number of police officials and civilians embraced shahadat. Hence, in the context of prevailing overall security situation in the wake of recent wave of terrorism & threat alerts, it has been necessary to impose Section 144 of Cr.P.C, 1898 on holding of aall kinds of assemblies, gatherings, sits-in, rallies, processions, demonstrations, jalsas, dharnas, protests, and similar activities across the province of Punjab to overt any untoward incident,” the provincial home department stated in the notification.

The order comes into effect immediately and will remain in force for two days, it added.

Speaking to the media shortly afterwards, Punjab interim Information Minister Amir Mir condemned what he termed “PTI's open acts of terrorism”, warning that extremist elements have crossed “a red line”.

Mir stated that attacks on national security institutions are acts of enmity and fascism.He also highlighted the disturbing incidents in Lahore and Rawalpindi as synonymous with acts of hostility against the state.

Mir vowed that strict accountability would follow, claiming that "this is not politics but naked terrorism." The interim information minister said that the process to identify the culprits involved in the attacks has been initiated, and each one would be made an example.

The information minister warned that necessary measures would be taken to suppress these extremist elements, stating that their true face and anti-national agenda have been exposed.

Mir emphasised that those challenging the state's authority will regret their actions for the rest of their lives.


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