On Friday, Peshawar’s deputy commissioner (DC) declined to give permission for a public meeting planned by the Democratic Movement of Pakistan (PDM), citing the growing spread of the district’s novel coronavirus.
The opposition alliance had sought authorization earlier this month to hold a public meeting on Peshawar’s Dalazak Route, Ring Road Chowk.
“is likely to further increase the spread of life-threatening virus”is likely to further increase the spread of life-threatening virus.
The letter went on to state that the public meeting should not be permitted to take place in order to “safeguard human lives [from the] potential spread of Covid-19”
It also cited a notice released on November 2 by the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa saying that “ceremonies and other gatherings shall be avoided” in order to curtail the spread of the virus.
In response to the Peshawar administration’s announcement, Ikhtiar Wali, spokesperson of the PML-N Khyber Pakhtunkhwa branch, said the opposition alliance would go ahead with the public meeting. Wali said in a statement to DawnNewsTV that Prime Minister Imran Khan had held a public meeting last week in Swat, and two days ago, the KP Chief Minister had held another meeting.
“Who did they ask for permission? And who granted them permission? So if there is no rule for the ruling party, then why is [there one for us?” he said. Wali also said the administration had warned that if a gathering is held, it would take action, adding that we are ready to face it”
Your job (administration) is to serve it as the protector of the region. We are political people, we are ready to face it.
The PDM has arranged a public rally on Sunday in the provincial capital, where speeches are expected to be delivered by Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Maryam Nawaz Sharif, Bilawal-Bhutto Zardari and other opposition figures.
In light of an increase in the Covid-19 incidence, the KP government had attempted to persuade PDM to cancel the upcoming public conference. The representatives of the coalition, however, declined to meet with a ministerial committee formed by KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan to reassure the representatives of the opposition.
Prime Minister Imran Khan placed limits on public meetings on Monday and called on people to follow normal operating procedures to curb the second wave of the virus. He also cancelled public meetings of the PTI and urged other political parties to follow suit.
On Tuesday, PDM President Maulana Fazlur Rehman declared that the alliance had opposed the government’s attempt to enforce limits on the country’s public meetings in the aftermath of Covid-19, and announced that its remaining three public meetings would take place as scheduled.
The prohibition of public gatherings under the basis of coronavirus is being addressed. We oppose any such government action, and the public meetings of the PDM will be held as scheduled,” he said.
Earlier this week for the same reason, the Mansehra administration declined to give the PML-N permission to stage a rally. Nevertheless the party went ahead and organised the public conference regardless. As the district’s coronavirus positivity levels had alarmingly hit 9pc, the DC had said that allowing a public meeting to be held would be equal to allowing the virus to spread, so the district administration did not give permission to PML-N.
DC Qasim Ali Khan was informed by PML-N District President Zafar Mahmood that it was not possible to cancel the political case at the last minute.