GHQ allows PTI to use Parade Ground for public gathering

Published July 2, 2022
Containers are being placed on Parade Ground in Islamabad on Friday to construct a stage for PTI leaders who would be leading a protest rally today (Saturday). — Photo by Mohammad Asim
Containers are being placed on Parade Ground in Islamabad on Friday to construct a stage for PTI leaders who would be leading a protest rally today (Saturday). — Photo by Mohammad Asim

ISLAMABAD: The Staff Duties Directorate at the General Headquarters (GHQ) Rawalpindi on Friday permitted the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) to organise its public gathering at Parade Ground in the capital.

In a late night development, PTI chairman Imran Khan visited the venue to inspect the arrangements.

Earlier, the office of the deputy commissioner informed the PTI Central Secretariat President Ali Nawaz Awan that the permission to use Parade Ground had been granted by the GHQ.

On Thursday, the deputy commissioner had issued a no-objection certificate (NOC) to the PTI to organise the public gathering at the Parade Ground but linked it to the permission from the GHQ.

A letter issued to Mr Awan by the deputy commissioner said: “With reference to clause xlii mentioned in the NOC, you are hereby intimated that permission to use the venue i.e Parade Ground, Islamabad has been granted by the concerned quarters.”

NOC issued on condition that fundamental rights of citizens shall not be disturbed; IHC disposes of PTI’s petition

Officials of the capital administration told Dawn on condition of anonymity that relevant quarters had been approached regarding the PTI’s public gathering. The Parade Ground is in the possession of the army and it was necessary to get the GHQ’s permission to use it for any other purpose, they added.

Meanwhile, the capital police deployed a well-equipped contingent of police in and around Red Zone, police officials said. More than 10,000 teargas shells were also provided to the police to deal with any law and order situation.

The NOC was given on the condition that the public gathering shall not disturb or disrupt the fundamental rights of the citizens of Islamabad and adjoining areas nor it shall block Islamabad Expressway or any other road. The gathering shall end at midnight.

The organisers will ensure that the participants dispersed after the conclusion of the event. No object of lethal or non-lethal force, including batons, would be wielded by any participant nor shall the participants indulge in violence or clashes. In case of any such incident of clash/violence, the organisers shall be held responsible.

The permission shall only be valid for July 2. It was reiterated that Section 144 had been imposed on the gathering of persons in one km radius of Red Zone and the organisers will ensure that no participant entered there.

The organisers shall be responsible for internal security arrangements of the participants and lists of the participants will be shared with the police in advance. No damage shall be caused to the public or private property and in case of any such damage the organisers will be held responsible.

The organisers shall take responsibility that the participants do not illegally move beyond the identified boundary of the venue and any violation of this and resultant consequences will be the responsibility of the organisers.

Anti-state, anti-religious or anti-ideology of Pakistan slogans or speeches shall not be made, effigy/flag of any political or religious party shall not be burnt, weapons/firearms of any kind shall not be taken by participants at/near the venue and the use of decks/speakers shall comply with the provisions of West Pakistan Amplifier Ordinance 1965.

The traffic management and vehicle parking plan of police shall be adhered to by the organisers/participants and smooth traffic flow for the residents of the capital shall not be obstructed. For safety of the general public and maintenance of law and order at the venue, the police and law enforcement agencies shall not be obstructed to check/search any vehicle/person coming to attend the gathering anywhere in the capital. Foolproof security arrangements for the participants shall be ensured including minimum setback area of 45 metres between the first row and the stage.

PTI’s petition disposed of

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday disposed of a petition filed by the PTI seeking directions to the deputy commissioner Islamabad to grant them permission to hold a public gathering at Parade Ground on July 2 after the district administration submitted a copy of the NOC issued to the party.

The district administration on Thursday allowed PTI to use the venue for gathering. However, the NOC was subject to the permission granted by the GHQ.

An additional deputy commissioner appeared before the court and presented the copy of the NOC.

IHC Justice Aamir Farooq, while hearing the petition, observed that “peaceful gathering is the constitutional right of the petitioners”.

Asad Umar, the PTI secretary general, in a recent tweet had criticised the capital administration for delaying the NOC on one pretext or the other.

“Islamabad administration sat on the jalsa application for 3 days & finally gave NOC after we went to court. Now even after administration NOC & high court decision ground not being handed over to us as GHQ approval not communicated. There is not even a fig leaf of democracy left.”

The DC, however, issued a subsequent notification informing the PTI that the concerned quarters had granted permission for holding the public gathering on Parade Ground.

Published in Dawn, July 2nd, 2022

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