Sindh government temporarily lifts ban on rallies

Published: October 29, 2011
MQM workers listen to their leaders during an assembly at Lal Qila park in Karachi. PHOTO: MOHAMMAD SAQIB/EXPRESS

MQM workers listen to their leaders during an assembly at Lal Qila park in Karachi. PHOTO: MOHAMMAD SAQIB/EXPRESS

MQM workers listen to their leaders during an assembly at Lal Qila park in Karachi. PHOTO: MOHAMMAD SAQIB/EXPRESS According to the MQM's Wasay Jalil, the government will give the party a 'relaxation' for its event.  PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS

KARACHI: Within a couple of hours of issuing a notification that added a month to the ban on public rallies and processions, the provincial government issued a second that effectively nullified the first for the weekend.

Apparently, Sindh was all set to extend the implementation of Section 144 when it decided to backtrack and lift the ban on public rallies and processions for two days.

On Saturday, the home department’s notification said religious rites and funeral processions and those with special permission from the department are exempt from the ban that will now come into effect from October 31.

The ban was imposed on September 28. Home department officials told The Express Tribune the change comes as the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) announced that they would be rallying today (Sunday) at MA Jinnah Road against the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz. They will also express solidarity with President Asif Ali Zardari and protest the use of unparliamentary language against the president by Shahbaz Sharif during his speech on Friday.

MQM MPA and Provincial Minister Raza Haroon spoke to the media after inspecting the arrangements for the rally at Tibet Centre. He explained that the purpose of the rally was to protest the use of unethical language against President Asif Ali Zardari. He said that nobody should be allowed to use inappropriate language from any forum or stage against the president and army.

When the initial announcement of the ban being extended came in, MQM’s Wasay Jalil did not sound concerned and said the party’s rally would go ahead as scheduled. “The government will give us a relaxation for the event,” he told The Express Tribune.

While the home department’s Sharfuddin Memon refused to comment, sources said the department issued the first notification automatically without consulting the Sindh government as the previous one had expired. Later, however, the chief minister ordered another notification. In addition, the memo directed Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leaders and workers to attend the rally. According to a statement issued by the party on Saturday, senior minister and PPP Sindh Assembly parliamentary leader, Pir Mazharul Haq, their Sindh general secretary Taj Hyder, senior leader ND Khan, Karachi division president Najmi Alam, the CM’s media adviser Waqar Mehdi, Local Government Minister Agha Siraj Durrani and Archives Minister Rafique Engineer will lead party workers at the rally.

Waqar Mehdi said that only PPP workers belonging to Karachi division will participate in the rally.

Home department officials also said that the president also told the home minister to take care of security. Police meanwhile, are confused as to how they are expected to provide security to the rally’s participants as they had not received any official intimation till Saturday evening. They plan to deploy special commandos of the Special Protection Group and Rapid Response Force but will not block the routes leading to MA Jinnah Road.

“We will only be able to map out a security plan once we get a copy of the permission letter,” District South DIG Commandant Shaukat Ali Shah told The Express Tribune. “It depends on the size of the crowd.”

As no terrorism threats have been made, the authorities see no reason to beef up the security. “Muharram and Rabiul Awwal have their own threat of terrorism and we make extra arrangements for them accordingly,” said DIG Shah. “However, this is a political rally and neither there is any threat, nor is there any political or government pressure on us. So we will make arrangements as we see fit.”

Scheduling the rally on a Sunday means the traffic police are also off the hook. DIG Traffic Khurram Gulzar said that there would not be a traffic jam because it is Sunday and only the areas where the rally is being held would be blocked.

“We will just have to set up two diversions, one at II Chundrigar Road and the other at Nishtar Road,” he said. “As soon as the rally ends, we will open up the MA Jinnah Road.”

The Sunni Tehreek, which has seen hundreds of their activists arrested under Section 144, has strongly criticised the government’s decision. They had a rally planned on October 22 at MA Jinnah Road that was halted for the same reason.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 30th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (14)

  • Maher
    Oct 29, 2011 - 2:38PM

    How shameful….Recommend

  • Was A Pakistani
    Oct 29, 2011 - 2:45PM

    Why is MQM planning to be holier than the pope…. why support Zardari in this. not our war man!


  • nadeem
    Oct 29, 2011 - 3:00PM

    First Mussaraf outsource MQM support. Now Zardari is doing same. MQM is not political party but only Drama party.


  • Aamir
    Oct 29, 2011 - 3:08PM

    All political parties exposed. They are here to satisfy their own will and agenda. They are least bothered about the miseries of common man. MQM need to think out of the box to become an acceptable party. The media is totally against them since their previous press conference.


  • Mango Man
    Oct 29, 2011 - 3:13PM

    MQM + Zardari league = Shararti Tola

    MQM has no political agenda. Three months before they were protesting against Zardari and now they’re protesting in the favor of Zardari….
    People of Pakistan woke UP now. MQM can’t make them fool. Thats why the’re loosing their support even in Karachi… They were blaming that PMLN used Government resources in their rally. Now what they’re gonna do?? lift the ban on rallies… Now the’ll shut down the markets forcefully and fetch the people to their rally… This is the politics in the books of MQM.
    For God sake MQM, please grow up now!


  • Parvez
    Oct 29, 2011 - 4:08PM

    Totally unnecessary move being made by the MQM.


  • Ikramuddin Akbar
    Oct 29, 2011 - 4:22PM

    MQM means “change” MQM means “revolution” in bringing justice to all in Pakistan.Every party has some flaws, and no party is devoid of it but no party can claim having leaders with neat and clean background.Why the name of MQM ignites some people,so much, that they in prejudice forget that this party has talked about to yank out the barbarism ,cruelty ,Karokari, winni,or wanni, marriages of women with Quran.,and most of all slavery still in practice in some rural areas of a province, from the soil of Pakistan for ever.People of this party don’t bow their head or lick feet of sardars, waderas worshiping them as gods. Leaders of this party don’t cut a cake weighing mounds with a sword to celebrate their birth days at age beyond 70.And still they gloat and feel pride revolving round the orbit of these Pharaohs It is irony that even educated people feel pride associating themselves with brutal lord leaders who treat common people as their slaves or “kammi”.Look at Karachi in decades it has been transformed from a backward city to a modern city a real Karachi Have you heard any leader other than MQM, to vow to eradicate the above mentioned menaces from Pakistan.Wake up educated people of Pakistan.


  • NAK
    Oct 29, 2011 - 5:36PM

    Jungle Law.


  • Salman Ali
    Oct 29, 2011 - 6:34PM

    @Mango Man. Excellent


  • Aam Aadmi
    Oct 29, 2011 - 8:11PM

    Does he look or act like a leader?? Watch here

    Karachi fellows, please think twice before casting your vote!


  • tauseef
    Oct 29, 2011 - 9:16PM

    Amazing solidarity!


  • Burned
    Oct 30, 2011 - 12:28AM

    Wonder how much the kid in the picture getting for participating in the clown rally


  • Ahmer Ali
    Oct 30, 2011 - 9:32AM

    Assalam-o-Allaikum Warahmatullah.Well done Sindh government well done.Lifting ban only for MQM rally just pro Zardari and the government.This MQM opposed and has been opposing PPPP’s government in the past on various issues but now to save and secure its ministries now MQM is arranging rally pro Zardari and most ever corrupt democratic system set by PPPP.How shameful act is this of MQM and Sindh government to support the ever most corrupt present democratic system of Pakistan.


  • FAZ
    Oct 30, 2011 - 11:48AM

    @Ikramuddin Akbar:
    Agreed with everything. But this present move by MQM is totally unnecessary. Yet another wrong move to damage MQM. It seems MQM has realised that it is a Karachi based party and it wants to continue on with this way! MQM leaders proving that they are just another political gang of this country that would do anything to please the King!
    Remember that on 12th May MQM made a big mistak to take a counter rally and block CJ’s vist! (yes everyone knows it, yet cant or wont come forward to prove it)


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