LAHORE: The Punjab government on Friday further reinforced the presence of security personnel in the provincial capital and ordered the Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA) to suspend mobile services in Lahore from 3 pm to 11 pm.
Citing Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) failure to obtain permission for a public rally, the district administration of Lahore also declared former Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif’s rally illegal.
A letter handed out by the Lahore Deputy Commissioner Capt (retd) Anwarul Haq warned the former chief executive of security threats issued by the federal and provincial governments against top tier leadership of the PML-N and recommended PML-N to refrain from holding the rally.
Highlighting the provincial home department’s June 5 order prohibiting holding of assemblies, gatherings, sit-ins and rallies throughout the province except those gatherings held in a closed and secure premise, Haq stated that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had also notified a code of conduct for the political parties, candidates, election and polling agents.
“Political parties and candidates shall convey their schedule of public rallies, processions, public rallies at least three days in advance,” the letter stated. “It is evident that your political party has not applied for permission to hold the rally at a particular venue within the prescribed time limit.”
The DC Lahore has said that the PML-N will be responsible for any untoward situation “which is highly likely in the prevailing security environment.”
Security arrangements in Lahore
Reports suggest that 30 to 40 per cent of PML-N supporters will be mobilised from Lahore and the rest of the support would originate from other areas of the province.
The security arrangements made by LEAs in the provincial city include:
Authorities also devised a three-pronged strategy to deal with the expected surge of PML-N supporters welcoming Nawaz on his return. The authorities have decided to target the third-tier leadership of PML-N, in particular, local body representatives.
Police had reportedly taken 150 PML-N workers in custody till Thursday. Deputy Inspector General (DIC) Operations Shahzad Akbar said the arrests were made to ensure safe and fair elections as per the directions of the ECP. He added the arrested activists belonged to different parties and were ‘miscreants’.
Their arrest was mandatory to ensure security for elections after the attack in Peshawar in which Haroon Bilour and 21 other innocent lives were lost, he added.
Meanwhile, over 50 the arrested individuals were detained under Maintenance of Public Order at Kot Lakhpat Jail.
Facts contradicted Akbar’s version as all the arrested individuals belonged to the PML-N according to reports. A senior officer relayed there were reports that PML-N gathered enough supporters for a large power show.
Besides these arrests, Lahore will be locked down at 14 points. Containers were placed at different thoroughfares of the city and the airport has been sealed by a heavy contingent of law enforcers.
All entry and exit points of the provincial capital witnessed an increased deployment of paramilitary personnel. Containers have also been placed on the routes leading to the airport. Around 10,000 police personel, including squads of Anti-Riot Force, have also been deployed for the maintenacen of public order.
Earlier, DG NAB Lahore Saleem Shahzad had written to Chairperson NAB Javed Iqbal for the provision of a helicopter to arrest Nawaz and Maryam from Lahore airport and fly them to Islamabad. Iqbal had sanctioned the permission.
NAB has formed two teams to arrest the accused. One will remain at Lahore airport and one at Islamabad airport.
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