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Shops' closure on Fridays: 'Police circular' creates controversy.

RAHIM YAR KHAN -- A controversial circular attributed to the Khanpur DSP viral on social media has warned the businessmen of 'action' if they don't close their shops, hotels and push-carts businesses from 12:30 to 3pm every Friday for prayers.

'Offer Friday prayers. Anyone committing violation (of this circular) will be responsible for his own action,' stated the circular that went viral on Thursday. It gives the telephone number and name of the DSP.

The circular got a mixed response as it went viral on social media with some people appreciating it while some others criticising it, saying the police had no authority to issue such an order.

A resident of Khanpur, who did not want to be named, told this correspondent that almost 50 to 60pc shopkeepers had closed their business on Friday due to fear of the police action.

Another man said that in Sahja Town within the limits of tehsil Khanpur, same announcement was delivered from the mosque loudspeakers on Thursday.

Assistant Attorney General at Lahore High Court Bahawalpur Bench Chaudhry Ramzan Shama said any police official had no authority to release such order as had been given in the circular. He said only in special circumstances the administration, in consultation with the higher authorities, could impose such restrictions.

A senior lawyer of high court, Jawadul Hassan, also said that there was no provision in any law wherein police could directly release any orders to close the businesses or shops.

Rahim Yar Khan DPO Umar Farooq Salamat told Dawn it was an unsigned circular and it might have been sent by someone from the DSP's office but it was not an official circular. He said it had been issued by someone mistakenly and he had directed the DSP office to take it back. He did not clarify why he had issued orders for taking back the circular if it was not issued by the DSP.

The DPO accepted that there was no provision in the police laws for issuing such a notification.

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Publication:Dawn (Karachi, Pakistan)
Date:Mar 23, 2019
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