Section 144 imposed in Chakwal

Updated December 16, 2016


CHAKWAL: Section 144 of the Pakistan Penal Code was imposed in Chakwal by the District Coordination Officer (DCO), Mehmood Javed Bhatti, in order to maintain the law and order situation after religious leaders announced they will observe Friday as a “day of protest”.

The district administration is trying to restore peace in the district, particularly in Dulmial, where a curfew like situation is being witnessed after a mob attacked an Ahmadi place of worship on Monday.

According to the order issued, hate speech, incendiary slogans, speeches, writings and wall chalking which could incite sectarian violence and the display of weapons will not be allowed.

The order said that strict legal action will be taken against those who hold rallies without permission from concerned authorities and that the assembly of five or more than five persons in bazaars, squares and streets will be banned and warns violators of strict legal action.

Meanwhile, leaders of various religious organisations in Chakwal warned of protests while addressing a press conference held at the residence of Shaibzada Abdul Qadoos Naqashbandi, the district president of the Almi Majlis-i-Tahaffuz-i-Khatm-i-Nabuwat. They decided to observe Friday as “a day of protest”. However, instead of taking out rallies, they decided to pass resolutions in all the mosques of the district.

The religious leaders rejected the first information report of the Dulmial incident and demanded the registration of a new FIR. They warned of nationwide protests if their demands were not met.

The religious leaders have also hired two lawyers, Haroon Irshad Janjua and Tariq Malik, to fight the case of all the suspects involved in the incident.

The president of Tahreek-i-Labaik Ya Rasoolullah Dr Ashraf Asif Jalali and leaders of the Tahaffuz-i-Khatme-i-Nabuwat have also warned of protests. According to the announcements they made on their organisations’ Facebook pages, a protest rally will be taken out in Lahore, from the Press Club to the Punjab Assembly.

Mr Jalali also urged clerics to deliver Friday sermons on the issue of Chakwal.

Many member of the Ahmadi community have already moved out of the village in fear of their safety.

“We have not been given information about two of our men who have gone missing,” said a Salimuddin, a spokesperson for the Jamaat-i-Ahmadiya. He said they need to pursue the matter legally and that those who can do this are stranded in Chenab Nagar and will not return to Dulmial.

Also, though the Regional Police Officer Rawalpindi has ordered the police chiefs of Rawalpindi, Chakwal, Jhelum and Attock to speed up their efforts for implementing the National Action Plan, no steps have been taken to control incendiary posts on social media and such posts have increased after the prime minister decided to re-name the physics centre of the Quaid-i-Azam University after the country’s only Nobel Laureate in Science, Dr Abdus Salam.

Meanwhile, the police presented 29 suspects before an Anti-Terrorism Court in Rawalpindi. The court ordered for all the suspects to be sent to judicial lockups for 14 days after issuing a judicial remand. The next hearing will be held on Dec 29.

Police, Rangers and the army are conducting raids to arrest the remaining suspects.

Published in Dawn, December 16th, 2016