Police transfer Khatm-i-Nabuwat rally participants from Islamabad Expressway to China Chowk on Monday. — White Star
Police transfer Khatm-i-Nabuwat rally participants from Islamabad Expressway to China Chowk on Monday. — White Star

ISLAMABAD: The capital administration on Monday warned organisers and activists of the Tehreek-i-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah to immediately vacate Jinnah Avenue where they are staging a sit in and served them a notice in this regard as well.

According to capital administration officials, the notice was issued from the office of the district magistrate to Dr Mohammad Asif Ashraf Jalali, who is leading the protest.

In the notice, the capital administration has informed protesters that the sit-in is unlawful and is in contempt of court. Legal proceedings and action may therefore be taken against the organisers, leaders and activists.

The notice reminds the protesters that in the wake of the current law and order situation and recent terrorist attacks, section 144 of the CrPC has been imposed in Islamabad which bans large assemblies and public gatherings.

Leaders of the protest were served notice and told to move to Parade Ground or face arrests and legal action

The Capital Development Authority has also notified a multi-purpose ground near Faizabad, Democracy Park and Speech Corner in Nov 2015, the notice said, and that all lawful and peaceful protests will be held in this designated space after obtaining a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the district administration.

According to the notice, the protestors have not obtained the mandatory NOC and they are also not protesting in the designated place in accordance with the directions of the Islamabad High Court.

The sit-in is also likely to threaten public peace by blocking Jinnah Avenue, will affect local businesses, may pose a threat to public property and may lead to a riot or affray within the city, the notice said.

The protesters have been directed to disperse immediately and move to Parade Ground Shakarparian and that it will otherwise be “tantamount to contempt of court and non-compliance” and that “necessary legal proceedings/action will be taken in accordance with [the] law”.

When asked, an official of the capital administration said the protesters were told they will be forcibly removed from Jinnah Avenue if they do not disperse and that arrests may also be made and cases registered in the process.

He said arrangements have been made and that officials are waiting for the signal from the higher ups. He said the notice was served after negotiations between the capital administration and the protestors and later with a team of ministers remained unsuccessful.

Activists and supporters of the Tehreek gathered in different parts of the city on Monday including Faizabad and tried to block roads.

According to the capital administration official, the police was able to resolve the issue. A few of the protestors were picked up and taken to various police stations for further legal action.

Published in Dawn, October 31st, 2017

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