On Sunday, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) challenged the Section 144 imposed by the Punjab government in Lahore ahead of its election rally in the provincial capital.
The plea was filed in the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) by PTI leader Babar Awan on the instructions of party Chairman Imran Khan. The interim government had announced the imposition of Section 144 (banning of large gatherings) in Lahore on Saturday night to avoid any “untoward incidents” during the PTI’s rally. This is the second time in less than a week that the interim government has imposed the restriction ahead of the party’s election rally. The PTI has criticised the caretaker set-up for being “partial”.
The petition filed by PTI in the ECP stated that the implementation of Section 144 is illegal and that the Punjab government is violating Para 15 of the Supreme Court’s order.
The petition also mentioned that the rally routes and the Pakistan Super League (PSL) match routes are different, with the PTI rally concluding at 5:30 pm and the PSL match beginning at 7 pm. The petition argued that Section 144 has never been imposed in any city during PSL matches. The PTI claims that the election campaign is its constitutional right and the provincial government is illegally stopping it.
PTI leader Yasmin Rashid has also submitted a request against the provincial government’s decision to ban rallies in the ECP’s office in Lahore. Babar Awan reiterated that imposing Section 144 on the entire city is not justifiable, and the interim government is using the PSL as an excuse to ban the rally. Imran Khan wants to stage a rally as it is the party’s constitutional right.