LAHORE: The government on Tuesday flooded the Minar-i-Pakistan lawns, the venue of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)’s Dec 13 public meeting, which the opposition termed a ‘failed effort’ to sabotage its power show.
In a related move, the Buzdar administration also rushed to enforce ‘smart lockdown’ in 45 areas of Lahore, including those close to the rally’s venue. The opposition also smells a rat in this move, saying the PTI government is taking every step to stop the opposition from holding the rally here but it will fail.
The government is also taking other measures — registering cases against those taking part in the PDM corner meetings and rallies and warning the caterers to extend their services to the PDM for its rallies — ahead of its (PDM) Dec 13 power show.
The government has not yet given permission to the PDM to hold a rally at Minar-i-Pakistan citing Covid-19 measures.
Ahead of PDM’s Multan rally on Nov 30, the government had adopted similar tactics but the opposition had held the rally on the road.
Learning about the government’s tactics, the PML-N leaders rushed to Minar-i-Pakistan and shut hosepipes.
“The PTI government released water at Minar-i-Pakistan in the early hours of Tuesday. When we learnt about it we rushed there and stopped further watering (by the administration),” PML-N lawmaker from Mohni Road Bilal Yasin told reporters at the venue.
He said Imran Khan had got so upset over Maryam Nawaz’s rallies in the city on Monday that an order was placed to flood the Minar-i-Pakistan on Tuesday.
“I ask Imran Khan to at least respect his office of the prime minister,” he said.
Commenting upon release of water at PDM’s rally venue, Maryam Nawaz said in a tweet: “This action reflects the fear of Taabedar Khan (obedient Khan) that his government is being sent packing. The Lahore rally will be held and the government be sent home too.”
Special Assistant to CM Punjab for Information Firdous Ashiq Awan clarified that only three to four kanals of Minar-e-Pakistan were watered.
“The way life of plants is connected with water, similarly Rajkumari (Maryam)’s life is connected with lies,” she said in a tweet.
During the last three days the Lahore police registered over 20 FIRs booking over 2,000 PML-N workers and leaders for committing Covid-19 SOPs violation and road block.
PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Auranzeb, Talal Chaudhry, MNA Malik Riaz and MNA Shizra Mansab are among the PML-N leaders booked.
Maryam Nawaz told reporters at Jati Umra that the FIRs had been registered against over 3,000 PML-N workers which showed how much unnerved the government had been.
The PML-N also held a convention here to mobilise workers for the Dec 13 rally.
Speaking on the occasion, Khwaja Asif said 130 MNAs of the opposition would resign and they could not be stopped from doing so.
“It is a sin to sit in the assemblies which cannot stop corruption and price hike,” he said and added the PTI had realised that these assemblies could not run any more.
Talking to reporters Marriyum Auranzeb said: “Fascist and incompetent Imran Khan is obsessed with persecuting the PML-N leadership, especially Shehbaz Sharif, while the entire nation suffers at the hands of his disastrous rule.”
She said the level of this selected prime minister was that he was threatening the vendors of chairs and tents with FIRs.
Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan told Dawn that the government was taking legal action against the PDM for violating Covid-19 SOPs. “We cannot allow the opposition to violate the law,” she said and added if caterers or others provided services to the opposition for holding an assembly of more than 300 people they would also be booked under the law.
Published in Dawn, December 9th, 2020