LAHORE: The Punjab government has imposed Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, because of the April 21 by-elections in Lahore, Kasur, Chakwal, Gujrat, Bhakkar, Wazirabad, Narowal, Sheikhupura, Rahim Yar Khan and Dera Ghazi Khan from April 18 to 22.

The Section 144 order has banned the carrying and display of all kinds of weapons including the licenced ones, except those by the law enforcement agencies (LEAs); all types of firing; and violation of any clause of the code of conduct issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan.

The order issued by Punjab Home Secretary NooruI Amin Mengal says the ban has been imposed because a large number of political gatherings, rallies, and corner meetings ions are likely to be held which may serve as soft targets for any desperate act by terrorists and miscreants.

The order also says that the possibility of clashes between contesting candidates and rival political parties/groups in different areas, given the past history, cannot be ruled out and may pose threats to public peace and order in the province.

“The ensuing security milieu demands extraordinary vigilance and extensive measures to preempt any untoward incident, in the larger interest of internal security,” says the order.

Published in Dawn, April 19th, 2024

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