ISLAMABAD: The capital administration has warned leaders of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) against blocking Motorway Chowk under plan B of its Azadi March.Officials of the district administration contacted local leaders of the party and informed them that Section 144 was in force and assembly of more than five people would be an unlawful and illegal activity while blocking the highway would be commission of a crime.

They were told that such an action would entail legal action involving registration of cases and arrests. The officials were in constant touch with the JUI-F leadership.

A senior official told Dawn that the district administration had so far played soft but it was aware that the politico-religious group wanted to create unrest.

“Enough is enough. We would not allow them to make people suffer for their politics,” he remarked.

Officials tell local party leaders that assembly of more than five people is violation of Section 144

Other officials said the district magistrate was in constant touch with JUI leaders Amer Abdul Majeed Hazarvi, Mufti Owais Aziz and Mufti Abdullah. Few rounds of talks were held with them during which the officials showed concerns over the protest at Motorway Chowk.

“Neither the JUI-F has sought permission for the protest or sit-in nor the district administration has allowed them,” the officials said, adding earlier the capital administration had allowed the JUI to hold Azadi March on Oct 31.

Though there was no permission granted for a sit-in, the capital administration did not take action against the party for staging the sit-in for about two weeks, they said.

Now they are violating Section 144 and the administration has warned the local leaders of the party to conclude the Plan B in the capital.

A senior officer of the administration said the concerned authority had been approached and asked for a guideline to register cases against the violators of Section 144.

Legal action may be initiated against them from next week if the violation continued, he added.

A spokesman for the JUI-F, when contacted, told Dawn that the sit-in at Motorway Chowk was being held under an understanding with the capital administration.

“We both are cooperating with each other,” he added.

The participants give way to rescue vehicles, including ambulances, and women, he said. Besides, the motorway and roads leading towards the airport and the railway station are also open.

The sit-in will continue at Motorway Chowk till further decision by the central leadership of the JUI, he added.

Published in Dawn, November 17th, 2019