PTI moves March 27 power show in Islamabad from D-Chowk to Parade Ground

Published March 21, 2022
Photo shows crowd of thousands of workers and supporters gathered at D-Chowk in Islamabad for PTI's protest rally against alleged rigging in the May 2013 general elections.—Photo: Irfan Haider
Photo shows crowd of thousands of workers and supporters gathered at D-Chowk in Islamabad for PTI's protest rally against alleged rigging in the May 2013 general elections.—Photo: Irfan Haider

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf on Monday changed the venue of its planned March 27 power show in Islamabad from D-Chowk to Parade Ground, hours after Islamabad Inspector General of Police (IGP) Qazi Jamilur Rehman told the Supreme Court that section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure — already in force in the capital — had been broadened to include the Red Zone area.

In a tweet, the PTI said that "the Parade Ground will be more suitable to accommodate the number of people that are expected to participate in the rally."

Earlier, PTI Senator Faisal Javed Khan, too, had tweeted that the D-Chowk would prove to be a "small venue" for what what he described would be the "biggest rally in the history of Pakistan".

Prior to the imposition of Section 144 (power to issue order absolute at once in urgent cases of nuisance or apprehended danger), the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Saturday had also ruled against holding any political gathering in Red Zone which houses important government institutions including the Parliament House, Supreme Court, Presidency and the Prime Minister Office.

Last week, a group of PTI activists attacked the Sindh House, where dissident leaders of the party were staying. The Supreme Court Bar Association had subsequently filed a petition in the top court demanding officials, tasked with the responsibility to maintain law and order in Islamabad, to "prevent any assembly, gathering, public meetings and/or processions that could hamper the assembly proceedings or participation of members in the session".

In the SC hearing on the petition today, Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Jawed Khan said: "After talking to the prime minister, I would like to clarify something to the court that there will be no crowd outside the assembly during the session. No [lawmaker] will be stopped by crowds."

The AGP also told the court that police and relevant agencies had been issued orders to not allow the public to enter the Red Zone during the NA session.

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