Lahore police have registered a case against numerous top leaders and workers of the PML-N for holding the opposition's public meeting at Minar-i-Pakistan on Sunday in violation of government orders and standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the coronavirus, it emerged on Tuesday.
The First Information Report (FIR) was lodged at Lahore's Lari Adda police station on a complaint of Mohammad Zameer, the security in-charge of the Greater Iqbal Park.
Nearly 40 PML-N leaders including the party's vice president Maryam Nawaz, Ahsan Iqbal, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Khawaja Asif, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Rana Sanaullah, Ayaz Sadiq, Talal Chaudhry, Khawaja Saad Rafique and Azma Bokhari; Javed Hashmi; and 100-124 unidentified stick-wielding persons "several of whom were dressed in khaki shalwar kameez" have been nominated in the case.
At the sixth power show of their anti-government movement at the Minar-i-Pakistan on Sunday, leaders of the 11-party Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) had blasted the government and establishment and reviewed the joint opposition’s protest programme.
The FIR was registered under Sections 286 (negligent conduct with respect to explosive substance), 287 (negligent conduct with respect to machinery), 506 (criminal intimidation), 440 (mischief committed after preparation made for causing death or hurt), 147 (rioting), 149 (unlawful assembly), 290 (public nuisance), 291(continuance of nuisance after injunction to discontinue), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public function) of the Pakistan Penal Code as well as the Punjab Sound Systems (Regulation) Act, 2015, Punjab Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance, 1960, and Punjab Infectious Diseases (Prevention and Control) Ordinance, 2020.
It stated that the PDM went ahead with the rally even though the Lahore deputy commissioner had refused permission for it to be held in view of security threat alerts and rising cases of Covid-19.
Complainant Zameer accused the PML-N leadership and workers of holding the jalsa illegally and breaking the gate and security barriers of the Greater Iqbal Park, causing "severe damage" to state property, violating coronavirus SOPs issued by the government, unnecessarily using loudspeakers and megaphones, and causing "loss to the honour of national heritage". The FIR also accused the organisers of manhandling the security guards of the park and provoking the participants of the rally against the administration.
On Monday, a day after the PDM public meeting, Lahore police had launched a crackdown on service providers for the event.
The police high-ups assigned a task to the divisional SPs to identify and arrest those who managed chairs and other goods for the rally and take legal action against them.
The district government was also assigned the same task and accordingly, the Shahdara police registered a criminal case against two major dealers — Mian Imran and Mian Shahid — for "facilitating" the PDM show by selling 7,000 chairs.