LAHORE: On Tuesday, the government flooded the Minar-i-Pakistan lawns, the site of the Dec 13 public meeting of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), which the opposition called a ‘lost attempt’ to sabotage its show of force.
The Buzdar administration also hurried to impose ‘intelligent lockout’ in 45 areas of Lahore, including those near the site of the protest, in a similar move. In this move, the opposition also smells of a rodent, saying that the PTI government is taking every measure to deter the opposition from conducting the rally here, but it will fail.
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The government is also taking other steps to lodge cases against those taking part in the PDM corner meetings and rallies and alert caterers before their (PDM) Dec 13 power show to extend their services to the PDM for its rallies.
The government has not yet granted the PDM permission to stage a rally at Minar-i-Pakistan, citing initiatives by Covid-19.
The government had adopted similar methods before the PDM Multan rally on Nov 30, but the opposition kept the rally on the road.
The PML-N chiefs, learning about the government’s strategies, raced to Minar-i-Pakistan and shut down the hosepipes.
“In the early hours of Tuesday, the PTI government released water at Minar-i-Pakistan. We rushed there and blocked more watering (by the administration) when we heard about it,” PML-N lawmaker from Mohni Road Bilal Yasin told reporters at the venue.
He said that Imran Khan was so angry at Maryam Nawaz’s rallies in the city on Monday that an order was placed on Tuesday to flood Minar-i-Pakistan.
“I ask Imran Khan to at least respect the Prime Minister’s office,” he said.
Commenting on the release of water at the PDM rally site, Maryam Nawaz said in a tweet: “This action reflects Taabedar Khan’s (obedient Khan) fear of being sent packing by his government.” The Lahore rally will take place, and the government will also be sent back home.
Firdous Ashiq Awan, Special Assistant to CM Punjab for Details, clarified that only three to four Minar-e-Pakistan kanals had been watered.
“The way plant life is associated with water, the life of Rajkumari (Maryam) is similarly associated with lies,” she said in a tweet.
Over the past three days, the Lahore police reported over 20 FIRs booking over 2,000 PML-N employees and leaders for committing breach and road blockage of Covid-19 SOPs.
Among the PML-N leaders booked are PML-N spokesman Marriyum Auranzeb, Talal Chaudhry, MNA Malik Riaz and MNA Shizra Mansab.
Reporters at Jati Umra told Maryam Nawaz that the FIRs were reported against over 3,000 PML-N employees, which revealed how unnerved the government was.
A conference was also organised here by the PML-N to mobilise workers for the Dec 13 protest.
Khwaja Asif, speaking on the occasion, said 130 opposition MNAs would resign and they could not be prevented from doing so.
Sitting in the assemblies that do not stop corruption and price rises is a sin,” he said and added that the PTI had realised that these assemblies could no longer run.”
Marriyum Auranzeb, speaking to reporters, said The fascist and incompetent Imran Khan is obsessed with persecuting the leadership of the PML-N, particularly Shehbaz Sharif, while the entire nation suffers from his disastrous rule.”
She said the degree of this chosen prime minister was that he confronted FIRs with the vendors of chairs and tents.
Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan told Dawn that for breaching Covid-19 SOPs, the government was considering legal action against the PDM. “We can not allow the opposition to violate the law,” she added, adding that they would still be booked under the law if caterers or others supplied the opposition with facilities for conducting an assembly of more than 300 people.