Tensions have escalated in Lahore as police authorities have begun using force against PTI workers reaching the provincial capital for PTI’s election rally.
PTI workers are also being arrested from around Mall Road, Dharampura, and Zaman Park for violating Section 144, which was imposed earlier shortly before the PTI rally was set to launch today.
Punjab Home Department has imposed Section 144 in Lahore restricting all kinds of corner meetings, jalsa, public gatherings, and congregations in the areas for a period of seven days.
Despite Section 144 imposed in Lahore, PTI workers took to the streets to take part in the rally and were met by force from the police. The police also used water cannons to disperse the workers. All roads leading to PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s Zaman Park residence have been cordoned off.
Read more: “Police Brutality”: Video highlights cruel behavior of Punjab Police
Videos and images of chaotic scenes from Lahore are going viral on social media. Water cannons were used on the PTI workers and their cars’ mirrors were smashed by the police. #Fascist_PDM is currently among the top Twitter trends in Pakistan.
پولیس جوان شہرویوں کی گاڑیاں توڑتے ہوئے#Fascist_PDM
Via @IKTodayPk pic.twitter.com/sR9vEvBu0o
— PTI (@PTIofficial) March 8, 2023
ایک ریلی سے اتنا خوف https://t.co/niSWIqC3q7
— Imran Khan (@ImranRiazKhan) March 8, 2023
On the orders of this cursed Mohsin Naqvi, peaceful PTI protestors are being brutally beaten! 25 May being repeated again!#Fascist_PDM#زمان_پارک_پہنچو pic.twitter.com/58P5lfuZ1o
— Momina Abid (@Momina_Abidd) March 8, 2023
Look at the condition of these vehicles. In which society is this allowed! #Fascist_PDM pic.twitter.com/gRYDXyh62y
— Virk Shahzaib (@VirkSh786) March 8, 2023
While imposing Section 144, the Home Department observed that number of rallies and protests are held therein on daily basis at different places in Lahore, which not only pose serious security threats but also disrupt traffic and cause inconvenience to the public at large.
The order stated that due to prevailing threats, it is essential to ensure the security of the people and installations/buildings against any potential terrorist or untoward activity, in the larger interest of public safety, security, peace, and tranquility.
The Punjab government’s decision to impose Section 144 in the provincial capital was met with intense criticism. However, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah defended the decision by saying that three rallies were happening simultaneously: Aurat March, Jamaat-i-Islami’s ‘Haya March’ and the PTI’s march.
Read more: Ban on public rallies in Lahore ahead of PTI rally, Aurat March
He said that all three demonstrations were taking place in the same vicinity and in such a situation, any incident can take place. The Punjab government choose to impose Section 144 on the reports received from agencies.