MULTAN: A special magistrate on Thursday granted bail to the Pakistan People’s Party former MNA Ali Musa Gilani and 12 other local leaders of the Pakistan Democratic Movement who were arrested on Wednesday for taking out a rally sans administration’s permission and in violation of a ban on large gatherings given the Covid situation in the province.

The arrested political activists were presented before the area magistrate, MrJawad Zaffar, who after hearing their counsel’s argument ordered their release against the surety bonds worth Rs100,000 each.

Meanwhile, the sessions court granted pre-arrest bail to the PML-N former MNA Shaikh Tariq Rasheed, his son Shaikh Hashim Rasheed and former deputy mayor Munawar Ehsan Qureshi.

The court directed the police not to arrest the applicants.

The police, however,continued hunting the PDM activists on Thursday and reportedly eight of them were arrested by the Lohari Gate and New Multan police, including PML-N former union council Nazim Shaikh Imran Arshad.

Nov 30 public meeting venue inundated on ‘admin’s orders’

An FIR was also lodged with Mian Channu city police station against 25 identified and 50 unidentified activists of the PML-N, including MPA Rana Babar, for holding a corner meeting in connection with the opposition alliance’s public meeting in Multan on Nov 30.

The police have also arrested two PML-N activists--Ashraf Zargar and Habibur Rehman.

Meanwhile, addressing a press conference, the local leadership of the PDM alleged that hundreds of the alliance workers had been arrested across the south Punjab region, including Multan, after lodging FIRs against them,while raids were being conducted to arrest others.

They rapped the administration for inundating the ground of Qila Kohna Qasim Bagh Stadium, the venue for the PDM public meeting, vowing to hold the event at all cost.

Addressing a party convention, former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said though the government claimed to be democratic, it was acting like a martial law regime.

“Our workers are being arrested ahead of the public meeting, even without lodging FIRs. Multan has been turned into a no-go area, but the public meeting will be held by removing all the obstacles,” he said.

On the other hand, the city police have requested the deputy commissioner to arrange 60 containers in connection with the opposition’s public meeting.

The CPO in a letter dated Nov 23 wrote to the DC that the PPP was celebrating its foundation day on Nov 30 at the Stadium Qila Kohna Qasim Bagh.

“Keeping in view the prevailing law and order situation in the country and security threats to the public gatherings, it is imperative to make foolproof security arrangements. It is, therefore, requested that 60 containers may be arranged for any law and order situation and to cope with any emergency,” the letter concluded.

FIR: Multan police have lodged an FIR against the Multan Development Authority’s newly-appointed chairman Rana Abdul Jabbar and his 37 supporters.

The FIR was lodged with the Mumtazabad police station against eight identified and 30 unidentified persons under section 7, 17 and 18 of the Punjab Infectious Diseases (Prevention and Control) Ordinance 2020 and 147/149 of Pakistan Penal Code.

Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2020

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