MANSEHRA: The opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has rejected the district administration’s refusal to grant it permission to hold a public meeting here today (Wednesday) and said it would go ahead with its plans for the event to be addressed by its central leaders, including vice-president Maryam Nawaz.

PML-N district president Zafar Mahmood told deputy commissioner Dr Qasim Ali Khan in a meeting here on Tuesday that the last-minute postponement of the political event wasn’t possible.

“Had the district administration wanted us to postpone the public meeting, it should have told us about it at least three days ago. Its postponement at the eleventh hour isn’t possible,” he said.

The DC said as the coronavirus positivity rate in the district had alarmingly reached nine per cent, allowing the holding of a public meeting would be tantamount to allowing the spread of the virus, so the district administration won’t grant PML-N that permission.

He said the opposition party should postpone the public meeting for an appropriate time.

Admin refuses to allow public meeting over rising virus cases

District police officer Sadiq Baloch, who also attended the meeting, said if the PML-N held the public meeting, it would be considered a violation of the law and security and traffic measures won’t be in place for it.

Meanwhile, PML-N central senior vice-president Sardar Mohammad Yusuf has warned the government against creating hurdles to the Mansehra public meeting.

“We [PML-N] will thwart any misadventure against our event in the name of pandemic or security reasons. We [participants] will strictly follow the standard operating procedures set by the government to prevent the spread of coronavirus,” he told reporters at the public meeting venue here on Tuesday.

Mr Yusuf said the party had formally moved the administration for the public meeting permission almost a month ago and would resist hurdles to it.

Warned: Doctors in Mansehra and Upper Kohistan districts have urged the residents, especially politicians, to adopt precautionary measures against coronavirus for own and others’ health.

They warned that the second wave of the virus was more intense than the earlier one.

“If people and politicians don’t follow SOPs, health facilities will be flooded by Covid-19 patients throwing things out of control,” deputy district health officer of Upper Kohistan Dr Pirzada told reporters in Dasu area on Tuesday.

He said the coronavirus incidence was on the rise in the district, which mostly remained without Covid-19 cases during the first wave.

Meanwhile, focal person for the pandemic in Mansehra district Dr Arshad Naeem appreciated the prime minister’s move to postpone public meetings and urged other political parties to follow suit to check the spread of the infection.

Published in Dawn, November 18th, 2020

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