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LHC conditionally allows PAT to hold rally till 12 midnight.

LAHORE -- A Lahore High Court full bench on Wednesday conditionally allowed

Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) and other political parties to hold rally at the Mall Road till 12 midnight.

The bench restrained the media from covering the event after 12 midnight. The bench also ordered government to ensure smooth running of traffic as well as opening of educational institutions, shops and offices at the Mall from Thursday.

The bench directed deputy commissioner Lahore to explain his position that his implied permission to hold protest was not in violation of LHC orders in a petition and Punjab Civil Administration Act 2017.

The bench comprising Justice Amin-ud-Din Khan, Justice Shahid Jamil Khan and Justice Shahid Karim passed these orders while hearing petitions filed by Advocate Ghulam Yaseen Bhatti as well as traders representatives Naeem Mir and Khawaja Sohail Mahmood. The bench issued notices to all the parties for January 31 and sought their reply.

As the proceedings began, Advocate General Punjab Shakeel ur Rehman Khan submitted that in compliance with court orders, the government framed a policy and had imposed ban on rallies at The Mall. He submitted that the organisers of rally only informed about the rally but did not seek any permission for the purpose.

He said that a meeting was also held with the organisers and they were briefed about the security threats over holding the rally at an open space.

At this, the bench observed that the policy/notification regarding ban on rallies at The Mall did not have any legal backing. The bench further observed that in a manner, the deputy commissioner allowed the respondents to hold rally through a letter written to them.

Traders representatives counsel Asad Manzoor Butt argued that the rallies affected the business of the Mall Road traders and the government had imposed a ban on rallies at The Mall after framing a policy, in compliance with orders of the court.

He said that the rally should be constrained till Nasser Bagh in accordance with policy. He said that a representation was also made to Chairman PEMRA seeking a ban on coverage of rallies at The Mall.

Counsel for petitioner, AK Dogar assailed step of launching the rally by the respondent parties in the background of Model Town incident despite the fact that the case was pending in Anti-terrorism court. He submitted that the rally/sit-in was a clear violation of constitutional provisions. He contended that the action of respondents was in violation of article 16, and 19 and requested the bench for issuance of restraining order.

To a court query, the PAT counsel sought time to seek instructions regarding duration of the rally.

However, representing Pakistan Peoples' Party, Latif Khosa defended the step of holding the rally and submitted that constitution guarantees right of protest. He assured that the rally would end at 12 midnight and it would be peaceful.

The court after hearing arguments of the parties reserved the verdict and it was announced after a few hours.

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Publication:The Frontier Star (Northwest Frontier Province, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Jan 18, 2018
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