PML-N meeting in Gujranwala: Special branch warns of clash if PTI holds counter show

Published October 13, 2020
The Punjab special branch in its ‘confidential report’ about the Oct 16 public meeting of the opposition parties has identified ‘active’ PML-N workers of the city and adjoining districts who can play a key role in ensuring a large gathering. — APP/File
The Punjab special branch in its ‘confidential report’ about the Oct 16 public meeting of the opposition parties has identified ‘active’ PML-N workers of the city and adjoining districts who can play a key role in ensuring a large gathering. — APP/File

LAHORE: The Punjab special branch in its ‘confidential report’ about the Oct 16 public meeting of the opposition parties has identified ‘active’ PML-N workers of the city and adjoining districts who can play a key role in ensuring a large gathering and warned the government of [possible] clash if the local Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf holds its show as well to counter the anti-government move.

In its report sent to Punjab IGP Inam Ghani, the special branch also revealed that an estimated capacity of the participants at the Jinnah Stadium, Gujranwala, may be around 50,000.

It stated that PML-N Gujranwala President Salman Khalid Butt had submitted an application to the respective DC office requesting permission to hold the meeting and provision of security.

The report stated that the PML-N had invited leaders of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) to attend the meeting (a copy of the report is available with Dawn).

The special branch reported that on Oct 2, PML-N arranged a meeting chaired by retired Capt Safdar at Imran Khalid Butt’s residence at Satellite Town, Gujranwala.

MNAs Mian Javed Latif, Khurram Dastgir Khan and other leaders attended the meeting. Later, Safdar had announced holding the meeting on GT Road or any other place if the administration did not allow the show at Jinnah Stadium.

“....Also announced to stage demo outside the residences of corps commanders if PML-N workers were arrested to thwart the meeting,” read the report.

In view of this announcement, the Satellite Town police station had registered an FIR on Oct 2 under sections 505/1208/124A of the PPC.

The report stated that the PML-N leaders were found arranging meetings in various districts of Gujranwala division to mobilise workers for the meeting.

According to the report, the Jinnah Stadium has eight entry gates. “A number of 20,000 persons can be accommodated on concrete stairs of the stadium and 30,000 in standing position,” the report read. The record shows that 5,000/6,000 chairs may be placed inside the ground.

The nearby villagers may use tractor-trolleys, mazda trucks and other heavy vehicles to attend the meeting and may cause traffic jam.

The entry doors for enclosures are not sufficiently wide. “In case of some emergency there might be a commotion/stampede leading to loss of human life and embarrassment to the administration,” the special branch warned.

It stated that there are my high-rise buildings around the stadium and the venue can be viewed through the rooftops. “Some of them are very close to the stadium and any projectile can be thrown inside the stadium from rooftops,” the report said.

A house was found empty on the southern side where no one is residing. Search and screening of the house may be ensured. It stated that no particular threat alert is in circulation for the proposed public meeting.

However, Younus Ansari (PTI Gujranwala) has announced a rally on Oct 16 from Pindi Bypass to Chan-Da Qila against the ‘controversial’ statements of PML-N leadership, according to the report.

“The PML-N meeting and PTI rally are going to take place on the same day and in the same city which may cause clash between their workers,” it stated.

The agency said Gujranwala is a PML-N stronghold and Imran Khalid Butt alias Pommi Butt (MPA), Waleed Asif Butt (youth wing president Gujranwala), Shoaib Butt (president youth wing City Gujranwala), Dil Muhammad (vice president youth wing Gujranwala) and Moazzam Rauf (senior vice president youth wing Gujranwala) are found ‘highly active’ in mobilising the people.

“They were [allegedly] found involved in stone pelting on the participants of the PTI’s long march in 2014 and they may cause a law and order situation in the city”, the report said.

“Foregoing in view, allowing the public meeting at Jinnah Stadium without finalising modalities with the organisers thereof would not be advisable”, the special branch suggested.

The agency stated that if the meeting is to be arranged at the stadium, search and combing operation in adjacent areas may be ensured.

All shops adjacent to the meeting place may be got closed during the meeting. The barbed wire fence may be fixed between the stage and the general public to stop access of the participants to the stage, it suggested.

Published in Dawn, October 13th, 2020

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