A case has been registered against 100 organisers of the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s rally in Gujranwala for violating the coronavirus SOPs and blocking roads.
Some of the prominent people named in the FIR include Khurram Dastgir and Muhammad Bashir Virk. The FIR has been registered at the Civil Lines police station. No arrest has been made yet.
On October 17, the PDM held its first rally as part of a countrywide anti-government campaign in Gujranwala in which the core message was that double standards would not cut it: there had to be accountability for anyone accused of corruption, not just the opposition. The rally was held at Jinnah Ground.
The PML-N hosted the rally and organisers signed a 28-point agreement with the Gujranwala city administration in order to get permission. According to the agreement, all roads leading into the city would be opened and containers will be removed.
Pakistan needs across-the-board accountability, not selective: PDM leaders
The Pakistan Democratic Movement held its first rally as part of a countrywide anti-government campaign in Gujranwala Friday in which the core message was that double standards would not cut it: there had to be accountability for anyone accused of corruption, not just the opposition.
The rally was held at Jinnah Ground where people started arriving at 3pm. The PML-N hosted the rally and organisers signed a 28-point agreement with the Gujranwala city administration in order to get permission. PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz, PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman spoke and PML-N founder Nawaz Sharif addressed the crowd via video link from London.
According to the agreement, all roads leading into the city would be opened and containers will be removed. All people who have been arrested in relation to the rally will also be released. No raids will be conducted either.
However, the PDM is not allowed to block GT Road, which was their plan in case they weren’t granted permission for the rally. The rally will be held from 3pm till midnight.
No entry without mask
JUI-F, PkMAP and some leaders within the PMLN have opposed to invite Mohsin Dawar at PDM’s Gujranwala rally, sources said. However, PPP has invited him for PDM’s rally in Karachi on Sunday. https://t.co/8UeGB0Wre2— Zia Ur Rehman (@zalmayzia) October 16, 2020
A notification issued by Gujranwala Deputy Commissioner Sohail Ashraf, dated Oct 15, said no participant would be allowed to enter the site of the rally without a mask and everyone would be seated at a distance of three to six feet from each other.
It further stated that police could check any vehicle parked at the rally for security purposes. “The organisers will ensure discipline at the venue and cooperate with law enforcement agencies for the maintenance of public order.”
The notification also said no person belonging to a proscribed organisation, or who has been convicted, would be allowed to participate in the rally or address the public.
The SOPs to be followed
It was made mandatory for participants to observe anti-coronavirus SOPs at the rally. PDM leaders were only allowed to address the crowd in the stadium and no speeches were allowed against national security institutions or against the Constitution. In case the agreement was not followed, a case was to be registered against the rally organisers, and this was made very clear.
The organisers had constructed an 80 by 24 foot stage and set up 10,000 chairs, though they claimed more people would attend. They also hired DJ Butt who was made famous for his participation at PTI rallies, for the event. One of his team members received an electric shock while setting up a screen. A fight also broke out between workers of the JUI-F and PML-N at the venue.
The PDM, which comprises 11 opposition parties, had vowed to stage rallies across the country to begin a movement against the government. Rallies were also scheduled in Karachi and Quetta on October 18.