PESHAWAR: Police have booked district presidents of five constituent parties of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) for ‘endangering public lives’ by holding a large gathering in the provincial capital despite an official ban.
On November 22, PDM had ignored government ban on gathering in the city and held its anti-government rally.
To this effect, an FIR was registered at Paharipura police station under Section 188 of Pakistan Penal Code, 15 Arms Act and Section 17 of KP Epidemic Control and Emergency Relief Act, 2020.
District chief of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) Qari Miskeen Shah, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) district president Rashid Mahmood Daudzai, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) district president Malik Saeed, Awami National Party (ANP) president Malik Farhad Khan and Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) district chairman Malik Mohammad Saleem were named in the FIR along with the unnamed organisers, catering, sound, electricity and logistic supplies providers for the gathering and violating the government directives.
Govt spokesman says Covid-19 cases shot up after Peshawar rally
The FIR stated that on November 20, the deputy commissioner of Peshawar rejected the request of opposition parties for holding the public meeting in the city; however, those office-bearers of the PDM member parties went ahead with their gathering and endangered the lives of people.
It said that the some unidentified persons, who were attending the gathering, also displayed arms. The FIR was registered on November 22, however, it was released to media on November 29.
Earlier, the provincial government had hinted that it would register cases against the organisers of the public meeting in case Covid-19 cases in the provincial capital shot up after the gathering.
In a statement issued here, the provincial government spokesperson, Kamran Khan Bangash, said that they started legal action against those, who put general public in the way of harm.
He said that government would soon present to people the research report by public health experts about damage of Peshawar gathering along with statistics.
He said that PDM leaders went on their own way after spreading Covid-19 in Peshawar while some of them were in quarantine after testing positive for the virus.
Regarding the FIR, Mr Bangash said that holding the event despite an official ban was violation of KP Epidemic Control and Emergency Relief Act, 2020 and government registered case against the opposition leaders under the same law.
He said that everyone was equal in the eyes of law. “Protection of public lives and property is the responsibility of government and action has been initiated against those, who put public lives in danger,” he added.
Mr Bangash said that opposition parties failed to follow Covid-19 SOPs in their Peshawar gathering and two senior leaders contracted the virus after the public meeting.
He said that videos of the public meeting also showed open display of arms, therefore, district presidents of all those parties were booked under the relevant sections of the law. “The government would sternly deal with those putting public in harm’s way,” he added.
Israrullah Advocate, PML-N provincial joint secretary, in a statement issued here condemned registration of FIRs against the PDM leaders. He said that struggle against ‘incompetent and undemocratic’ PTI regime would continue.
“The government has miserably failed to control unprecedented price hike and unemployment.PTI government is devoid of vision and is like a rudderless ship. It ruined the economy, which led to widespread joblessness,” said Mr Israr.
Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2020