MULTAN: The police on Wednesday arrested PPP’s former MNA Ali Musa Gilani when he along with other party workers was protesting against the arrest of some activists of the 11-party opposition alliance the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).
The district administration meanwhile rejected a PDM request for holding a public meeting here on Nov 30. An application to the effect was filed by PPP south Punjab leader Natasha Daulatana.
The PPP workers led by Ali Musa Gilani, son of ex-premier Yousuf Raza Gilani, had gathered outside the Chehliyak police station to protest against the arrests.
Multan admin rejects request for Nov 30 public meeting
PPP south Punjab senior vice president Khwaja Rizwan Alam said the police had arrested five PDM workers against which Mr Gilani and others were protesting.
“We are protesting outside the police station against the arrest of our workers. Such tactics would not help the government to stop the PDM from holding the public gathering on Nov 30,” he said.
The Lohari Gate Police on Tuesday night lodged an FIR (No785/20) under sections 506/379, 353/186 and 148/148 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) on the complaint of District Sports Officer Adnan Naeem against PPP former MPA Javed Siddiqi, Abdul Qadir Gilani, Qasim Gilani, PML-N former provincial minister Abdul Waheed Attain, former MNA Shaikh Tariq Rasheed and 30 unidentified persons for allegedly breaking the lock of the Qila Kohna Qasim Bagh Stadium and entering there for reviewing the arrangements of the PDM public meeting to be held on 30th.
On Nov 24, the district administration had rejected two applications for holding PPP rallies led by ex-premier Gilani in connection with the PDM public meeting. The party had sought permission to hold rallies from Chowk Nawan Shaher to Chowk Ghanta Ghar.
The DC in his refusal stated that the rallies could not be allowed because of a ban on large gatherings imposed by the government to prevent spread of Covid-19.
“Government of the Punjab, Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department vide Order No. SO(G)/P&SHD/4-1/2020 dated 19th November 2020 has imposed a complete ban on all types of large-scale gatherings and only outdoor gathering is allowed with upper limit of 300 persons. This order has come into force with immediate effect and shall remain in force till Jan 31, 2021, unless otherwise amended. Moreover, educational institutions have been closed by the government due to Covid-19,” the DC stated in his refusal letter.
He also stated that the Covid-19 cases are increasing at an alarming pace in the district and in case of large public gatherings, there was a likelihood of rapid spread of the disease, while the health facilities in the district are already over-occupied because of the pandemic.
The DC also referred to Multan city police officer’s report on Nov 24 that warned against large public gatherings that might increase the spread of the life-threatening virus, besides mentioning the ban imposed by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), Islamabad, on such gatherings.
“Keeping in view of the instructions of the government and after considering all aspects and to safeguard human lives due to potential spread of Covid-19 virus, permission of such kind of activities may be regretted,” the letter concluded.
Despite the refusal by the DC, the PDM local leadership held the rally over which the Chehliyak police lodged the FIR (No700/2000) against Ali Musa Gilani, Abdul Qadir Gilani, MPA Ali Haidar Gilani, Ali Qasim Gilani and other nominated persons, besides 50 unidentified people.
The FIR was lodged under sections 147/149 and 186/427, besides sections 7, 17 and 18 of the Punjab Infectious Diseases (Prevention and Control) Ordinance 2020.
Meanwhile, the PPP information and media cell, Multan, claimed that besides Ali Musa Gilani, the police have arrested Rao Sajid Ali, Malik Asif Rasool Awan, Rana Sajjad and Arshad Ali Raan.
The protest against the arrests was underway till the filing of this report.
According to the police spokesperson, Gilani had been arrested for holding the rally without permission, while other arrests were made over violation of Covid-19 SOPs.
Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2020