Additional District and Sessions Judge Abdur Raheem on Saturday directed the Civil Lines station house officer (SHO) to register an FIR against PML-N leaders including Law Minster Rana Sanaullah, Abdul Ghafoor and Mian Nauman for staging a rally on The Mall in defiance of a ban on public assembly on the road.
Counsel for the petitioner Advocate Muhammad Azhar Siddique submitted that the common man could not be expected to follow the law when the country’s legislators were flouting it. He said that those in government should be given double punishment.
At the previous hearing, the Civil Lines SHO had submitted in response to the petition that the PML-N rally had been staged on Shahra-i-Quaid-i-Azam and so did not violate the ban. Siddique said that the Shahra-i-Quaid-i-Azam was just another name for The Mall so the SHO’s comments did not make sense.
Petitioner Advocate M Muneer had asked the court to take notice of the PML-N leaders’ rally as it violated a Lahore High Court order banning processions on The Mall because of the disruptions they caused to businesses and commuters. The district coordination officer had later imposed a ban under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code on rallies on The Mall.
He said though it was clear that the PML-N rally had broken the law, the police were refusing to entertain his plea to register an FIR. He asked the court to order the police to register a case against the PML-N parliamentarians who participated in the rally.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 22nd, 2012.