The Punjab government on Friday imposed Section 144 across the province in light of “the prevailing law and order situation”, thereby banning protests and public gatherings.

The imposition of Section 144 across Punjab comes as PTI plans to carry out nationwide protests today demanding the release of incarcerated leader Imran Khan.

According to an order issued by the Home Department, which Dawn.com has seen, Section 144 has been imposed with immediate effect and will be in place for seven days.

The Punjab Police says Section 144 empowers authorities to issue orders in public interest that may place a ban on an activity for a specific period of time.

The order states: “It has been observed that in view of the prevailing law and order situation and security threats, any gathering/ assembly is likely to provide soft targets to terrorists and miscreants, which not only pose serious security threats but is also likely to cause threat to public at peace and order as well as inconvenience to public at large.”

Although a specific reason for imposing the ban was not mentioned, issuing secretary Noor Ul Amin Mengal wrote in the order that “pressing and adequate grounds exist for proceeding under Section 144 […] as an immediate prevention and speedy remedy to ban forthwith certain activities in Punjab”.

Assemblies, gatherings, sit-ins, rallies, processions, demonstrations, jalsas, dharnas, protests and other such activities have been prohibited effective immediately, the order stated.

The imposition of Section 144 across Punjab comes as PTI announced nationwide protests for the release of incarcerated leader Imran Khan.

According to one post on social media platform X, “multiple illegal police raids” were conducted on the houses of PTI leaders in Khanewal.

The party also claimed that the office of PTI leader PP-209 Khanewal Humayun Khan was raided and ransacked by the police.

Speaking in the National Assembly today, Leader of the Opposition Omar Ayub condemned the imposition of Section 144 and asked NA Deputy Speaker Ghulam Mustafa Shah to rule that the ban was a constitutional violation.

The deputy speaker responded that it was a “provincial matter” and expressed the hope that it would be sorted out.

PTI spokesperson Raoof Hasan condemned the ban as “a shameful act on the part of the entire form 47 criminal government”.

Posting on X, he claimed that imposing Section 144 demonstrated how “mortified” the government was of Imran, adding that it would only spur the drive of the party founder’s followers.

“Imran Khan will triumph. People will triumph. Pakistan will triumph. Nothing can stop their momentum to realise their dream,” Hasan added.

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