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PML-N to file petition in SC against media curbs

27 July, 2019

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LAHORE: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) announced on Friday that it would file a petition in the Supreme Court against media curbs and “blackout of its activities by the media at the behest of the PTI government”.

The announcement came on the day Punjab police booked over 2,000 political leaders and workers, including PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif, Javed Hashmi and Qamar Zaman Kaira of the PPP, for staging an anti-government rally on the Mall Road on Thursday.

“The opposition parties are going to file a petition in the Supreme Court, challenging the media curbs and blackout of the opposition’s activities at the behest of the government,” PML-N secretary general Ahsan Iqbal told reporters after a party meeting.

Mr Iqbal said it was “today’s opposition” that had allowed Imran Khan and his party TV coverage for hours in the past. “Imran Khan Niazi during the five years of the PML-N government had staged 140 rallies but not in one rally water was released into the venue,” he said.

The PML-N leader said the opposition was not afraid of arrests as it had seen grilling by military dictator Pervez Musharraf.

He said all four main rallies of the opposition on Thursday were successful and Quetta’s public meeting was good tidings for the federation. “July 25’s protest was [an expression of] no- confidence in the PTI government. The huge participation of the people has proved that this selected government made their lives miserable,” he added.

Mr Iqbal said he was being given messages that he should be careful (in his criticism) after the arrest of former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

Meanwhile, Lahore police arrested over a dozen PML-N activists for participating in the Mall Road rally in violation of the Lahore High Court orders.

The main case was registered against leaders of the PML-N, Pakistan Peoples Party, Awami National Party and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl and 58 of them were nominated for taking our rally on the Mall Road led by Shahbaz Sharif.

Those nominated in the FIRs include Khurram Dastghir, Waheed Gull, Rana Mohammad Arshad, Rabia Naseem Farooqi, Waheed Alam, Mian Marghub, Retd Col Mubashar Javed, Nazir Sawati, Saleem Butt, Samra Komal, Majid Zahoor, Khurram Rohil Ashgar, Malik Riaz, Sheikh Rohil Ashgar, Dr Asad Ashraf, Naseer Bhutta, Rana Mohammad Iqbal, Ameer Babar Khan Hoti, Rana Mashhood, Bilal Yasin, Mian Mujtaba Shuja Rehman, etc, besides over 2,000 workers of political parties.

Civil Lines SHO Babar Ashraf Ansari is the complainant of the case pertaining to violation of seven sections of the Pakistan Penal Code.

The political leaders and workers have been booked on the charges of rioting, unlawfully assembling, creating public nuisance, assaulting or using criminal force to deter public servants from discharge of their duty. They have also been accused of violating the Punjab Sound Systems (Regulations) Act 2015-16 and Section 16 of the MPO.

Reacting to the lodging of the cases, PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb declared it a cowardly act of the government, saying the opposition parties would not stop exposing the so-called rulers.

She said it was the same “Niazi” who had wreaked havoc by attacking the Parliament House, PTV headquarters and police personnel at D-Chowk in Islamabad. “Now Niazi is getting the cases lodged against the leaders and workers of the political parties for taking out peaceful rallies,” she added.

Meanwhile, the PPP has also condemned registration of cases against leaders of the opposition parties and arrest of their workers.

PPP vice president Sherry Rehman said if staging protest was a crime then a case should be registered against the whole nation which, she added, was protesting against faulty policies of the government and unprecedented price hike.

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