LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Thursday issued notices to the federal and provincial governments on a petition challenging the possible use of tear gas by the law-enforcement agencies (LEAs) to deal with the participants in the upcoming Nov 26 rally of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) in Rawalpindi.

A citizen, Shireen Nawaz, filed the petition and contended through her counsel that it was recently reported in the media that the law-enforcement agencies had been issued 50,000 canisters and 36,000 gas guns to be used on the announced gathering on Nov 26 within the vicinity of Rawalpindi and its surroundings, as announced by a political party.

The counsel submitted that in the reported quantity of the tear gas, if used, would damage the inhabitants of the locality and the innocent people were just waiting to contract lethal damages, despite their non-participation in any such gathering.

He said the police/LEAs were duty bound to protect life and property of the citizens and such excessive use of ‘chemical weapon’ on its own citizens should not be a choice when alternative means of riot control equipment were available.

He argued that the tear gas was used to disperse crowds even in the absence of any law.

He said the use of the toxic gas was nothing but a brutal, vicious and ruthless act and it was in the interest of justice to restrain the law-enforcement agencies from using the tear gas to save the innocent inhabitants, likely to be adversely affected by uncontrolled and indiscriminate use of the poisonous gas.

The judge heard the arguments and issued notices to the respondents for next week.

Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2022

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