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ISLAMABAD: The capital’s administration has banned processions, rallies, the distribution of handbills and pamphlets, wall-chalking, loudspeakers and the public use of sound systems ahead of the general election for a period of two months.

They have also banned the publication of housing development launches, plot sales, carrying and displaying firearms and the sale, purchase and use of firecrackers and fireworks and stone-blasting.

When contacted, administration officials said the bans were imposed to maintain law and order, avoid untoward incidents and keep the city clean.

Political parties will only be permitted to hold processions and public gatherings after obtaining no-objection certificates from the district magistrate, and Parade Ground and F-9 Park will be reserved for such processions.

Officers claimed the district magistrate had learned that some segments of society were planning to hold unlawful assemblies, including majalis and processions, in Islamabad.

They said segments of society were planning to lead religious and sectarian processions and hold demonstrations in the capital, which could disrupt or threaten public life, cause annoyance or injury, endanger human life and safety, pose a threat to public property and lead to rioting, including sectarian riots.

Gatherings of five or more people within the revenue limits of Islamabad, including the Red Zone, are banned. Slogans and posters are also banned as they could hurt religious sentiments, the officials claimed.

The district magistrate has also banned publications regarding the launch of housing schemes to sell plots, invite applications for membership fee deposits or the publication of plot prices in such schemes without observing all the legal formalities unless prior permission has been obtained from the office of the district magistrate.

Officers said there were housing societies, trusts and limited companies operating in the capital in a manner not warranted by the law and advertising more land than they had available to them.

Carrying, displaying and exhibiting firearms have also been banned for two months, they said. No one other than a member of the armed forces, civilian law enforcement, Rangers and on-duty police may carry firearms or display firearms within the revenue or territorial limits of the Islamabad district, they said.

Stocking, selling, buying and using firecrackers and fireworks has also been banned as this could disturb public peace and poses a threat to public property. Digging stone by blasting has also been banned for being disruptive and dangerous to the public.

Published in Dawn, June 28th, 2018