PESHAWAR: On Sunday, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government asked the police to lodge a case against the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) local leadership for organising the November 22 rally despite the reluctance of the Peshawar administration to give them permission for it because of an exponential spike in cases of coronavirus.
The provincial government had earlier warned the opposition coalition that they could lodge cases against them if an increase in virus cases was observed in the province during the protest, sounding the alarm about the increasing number of novel coronavirus cases.
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Special Assistant to K-P Infornation Chief Minister Kamran Bangash told The Express Tribune that after the PDM’s rally, cases of Covid-19 had increased.
Also PDM leaders have contracted the infection,” Bangash said in reference to President Bilawal Bhutto Zardari of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Samar Bilour of the Awami National Party testing positive days after the rally.”
The PDM was prohibited by the government from conducting demonstrations… The rallies were the reason for the Covid-19 spike, he said.
Bangash claimed that a letter to the police was sent by the K-P government to book five PDM leaders in the event.
On November 21, K-P Health Minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra and Bangash conveyed the warning of lodging cases against the PDM leadership if virus cases were to escalate after the rally, as they called on the PDM to cancel their public rally.
Jhagra had insisted, addressing a joint news conference, that it was in the greater public interest not to organise such meetings in order to deter the virus from spreading with a second wave of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) strongly seizing the nation and enforcing a moratorium on large public assemblies by the National Command Operation Center (NCOC).
Despite the alert and the reluctance of the K-P government to give permission, the PDM kept its demonstration of force in Peshawar.