ISLAMABAD: The Punjab administration imposed Section 144 on several districts of Punjab yesterday banning public rallies and political gatherings. The move aims to pre-empt long march by lawyers backed by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League (N), Tehrik-e-Insaf and Jamaat-e-Islami, scheduled for tomorrow.
A spokesman for Punjab Governor Salman Taseer said the administration had to clamp Section 144 due to security threats. There has been a major bureaucratic reshuffle in Punjab that saw many senior police officers and district management administrators made “officers on special duty” or elevated to important posts.
Travelers coming from Lahore through the Grand Trunk Road or the Motorway were not allowed to enter Islamabad. The government has so far not arrested any parliamentarian from the opposition but party activists in some districts have been arrested. President of PML (N) Shahbaz Sharif said his party was waging a struggle for the restoration of real democracy in the country.
Speaking at a news conference with senior party leaders here, he said: “We are making efforts for the restoration of the judiciary at its pre-Nov. 3 position.”
The former Punjab chief minister directed party workers not to damage public or private properties and keep their protest peaceful. He also accused the Interior Ministry adviser Rehman Malik of pilfering Rs.500 million from the national exchequer.
Malik, meanwhile, told reporters, “We are only taking preventive measures and our actions should not be considered political victimization.-SANA