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Punjab Government Imposes Section 144, Banning Protests and Public Gatherings Amid PTI Protests

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The Punjab government has recently enforced Section 144 across the province, citing the prevailing law and order situation as the primary reason behind this decision. This move effectively prohibits protests and public gatherings in the region. The imposition of Section 144 coincides with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) plans to organize nationwide protests, advocating for the release of their incarcerated leader, Imran Khan.

According to an official order from the Home Department, the implementation of Section 144 is immediate and will remain in effect for seven days. The Punjab Police emphasized that Section 144 empowers authorities to issue orders in the public interest, including imposing bans on specific activities for a designated period.

In the official order, it was articulated that the prevalent law and order situation, coupled with security threats, prompted the need for such a ban. The rationale presented was that large gatherings are vulnerable to potential terrorist activities and may disrupt public peace and order, causing inconvenience to the general public. The order emphasized the urgent need to initiate preventive measures under Section 144 to curtail certain activities in Punjab, thereby ensuring public safety.

The prohibition entails a ban on various activities such as assemblies, gatherings, sit-ins, rallies, processions, demonstrations, jalsas, dharnas, protests, and similar events. The decision to impose Section 144 has drawn strong criticism from various quarters. Notably, the opposition leader, Omar Ayub, condemned the ban in the National Assembly, labeling it as a potential constitutional violation. PTI spokesperson Raoof Hasan also vehemently criticized the government’s action, denouncing it as a shameful act and asserting that it will only invigorate the followers of Imran Khan, thereby highlighting the political tension.

Moreover, social media platforms have become a forum for expressing dissent against the government’s decision, with assertions that it reflects the government’s unease concerning Imran Khan. Critics claim that this move will only fuel the determination of Imran Khan’s supporters and enhance their resolve, thereby showcasing the public’s active participation in the discussion.

The imposition of Section 144 across Punjab has sparked controversy and evoked strong reactions from various political factions and citizens, reflecting the deeply polarized sentiments surrounding the decision.

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