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Thursday, September 21, 2023

Yousuf Raza Gillani’s son arrested for violating COVID-19 SOPs: Will PDM hold rally in Multan on 30?

Anybody invited to attend Bakhtawar's engagement must have a COVID-19 test report to be allowed to enter Bilawal House but every worker is urged to attend Multan rally despite COVID-19 rising case. Is this not hypocrisy?

Ali Musa Gillani, son of former premier Yousuf Raza Gillani, has been granted bail by a special magistrate in Multan. Gillani was arrested following a rally ahead of the upcoming PDM jalsa.  The Multan Police, in a statement, said a case was registered against Ali Musa Gilani for holding a rally today despite the ban. “We have nominated 30 leaders of the PPP and the PML-N in the FIR,” they added, noting that at least 50 other unidentified political workers were booked as well.

The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) is planning a public gathering in the city on November 30. But the district administration has twice denied permission to hold rallies citing coronavirus measures.

Prior to the arrest, PPP leader Yousaf Raza Gilani led a rally here from Nawan Shehr ahead of the PDM upcoming jalsa, where his son, Ali Musa, had torn apart a copy of a first information report (FIR) terming it “bogus”.

Read More: COVID-19 in Pakistan: Is the government going to re-impose lockdown?

The rally — from Multan’s Nawan Shehr to Ghanta Ghar Chowk — was led by the PPP in preparation for the PDM’s jalsa meeting on November 30.

District administration rejects PPP’s request to hold protest

Multan’s deputy commissioner, Amir Khattak, said the district administration had not allowed the PPP to hold a rally. Consequently, heavy contingents of police were deployed on all roads leading to the city’s Nawan Shehr.

Both DC Khattak and Multan’s Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Muhammad Hassan Raza Khan were there at the site as well.

Moreover, there were severe traffic jams on the roads towards Nawan Shehr, with blockages reported on Chowk Dera Ada, Kalma Chowk, Tariq Road, and Abdali Road.

‘Bogus FIR based on false, ridiculous charges’

Former Prime Minister Gillani’s son Kasim also talked about the rally on Twitter before sharing a copy of the FIR in another post. “The Punjab government has registered a bogus FIR based on false and ridiculous charges Abdul Qadir Gilani, myself and [PPP/PDM],” he said.

The three sons of the former prime minister, including Musa and Kasim, reached the Lohari Gate police station after a case was filed against them a day earlier and offered the authorities to arrest them on the spot.

COVID-19 cases in Pakistan: Why is Bilawal in self-isolation?

In Pakistan, the maximum positivity rate had reached 23pc in June as it had increased from 6pc in May, while the positivity rate was brought down to 1.7pc in September.

There had also been an increase in the number of infections reported at educational institutions across the country, with 19pc of total Covid-19 cases being recorded among students. The positivity ratio in educational institutions rose from 1.8pc to 3.3pc during the last week — an increase of 82pc.

Three days ago, Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood has said that all educational institutions, including schools, colleges and tuition centers, will close down from November 26 (Thursday). Educational institutions had faced a six-month closure from March to September due to Covid-19 and now in the pandemic’s second spell, education ministry officials had said the closure had become imminent due to the rising numbers of cases.

Read More:  COVID-19: Why did the Supreme Court of Pakistan ignore experts’ opinion?

It is important to note that despite the high positivity rate in Peshawar, PDM leadership held the rally. While highlighting the statistics of virus spread in KP capital, Asad Umar said that the positivity rate of COVID-19 stood at 13.39 percent in Peshawar and 202 patients were in critical condition.

He added that 50 patients are put on low flow oxygen; 134 on high flow; 18 persons have been put on ventilators and 14 patients were brought to the medical facilities in critical condition. But the PDM held the rally.

After the rally, PPP’s chairman’s political secretary was tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, Bilawal went into self-isolation. Sources claim that Bilawal is a little unwell and may not attend his sister’s engagement ceremony scheduled to be held on November 27.

As the Zardari family has made it mandatory COVID-19 report for the guests attending Bakhtawar’s engagement ceremony. Meher Bokhari, a senior anchorperson, slammed the PDM leadership for this ‘hypocrisy’.

Similarly, Dr Shahbaz Gill, Special Assistant to PM on Political Communication, said that “for Bakhtawar’s engagement, you need a mandatory COVID-19 test report or you will not be allowed to enter Bilawal House,” he wrote. “Why do you not care about the lives of the ordinary people you call to your jalsas?”

“Your lives seem to be very dear to you, yet you consider ordinary people to be below you. This is a pharaonic attitude,” he said.

It is yet to be seen whether the PDM will hold its rally on 30 despite the rising number of cases or not. District administration has made it clear that nobody shall be allowed to hold the protest at any cost.