Govt allows PTI to hold rally at Jinnah Avenue

  • Nisar says govt will not allow any PTI protester to enter Red Zone; party to be liable for consequences in case of breach of agreement
  • Says everyone has right to protest and hold public meetings; govt showed tolerance despite crossing of limits by sit-in organisers

The federal government has allowed the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to hold its Nov 30 rally at Jinnah Avenue in the federal capital.

Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said that both the Islamabad administration and PTI have signed an agreement of terms and conditions under which the party will be allowed to hold the public rally in the federal capital.

“The venue of the Jalsa will be the Parada Avenue up till the MCB Bank on Jinnah Avenue (excluding the service roads) Islamabad. The stage will be at the Parade Avenue facing towards the Jinnah Avenue/Blue Area,” read the affidavit signed by PTI’s Chief Coordinator Col (r) Yunus Ali Raza.

The document agreed upon by both parties states that the rally stage will be dismantled at the end of the rally at 11:59pm on Nov 30.

“The organisers/PTI volunteers shall ensure that there is no stampede…and shall be responsible for any consequences in this regard. The organisers shall take responsibility that participants shall not move beyond the identified boundaries of the venue, any violation of this and resultant consequences shall be the responsibility of the organisers,” states the agreement.

Firearms or weapons, “including batons, sticks or any instrument that can cause bodily harm”, will not be allowed into the venue, for which the police and law enforcement agencies will conduct thorough checking. Search of participants at rally entry-points will be the joint responsibility of the ICT Police and rally organisers.

According to the agreement, ‘anti-state, anti-religion, sectarian or anti Ideology of Pakistan’ slogans or speeches will not be permitted, while effigies or flags of any political or religious parties will not be allowed to be burnt.

The organisers “undertake to respect the competing fundamental rights of other stakeholders and public at large” during the rally, states the document.

The agreement contains 42 clauses which the PTI chief coordinator “solemnly agrees to abide by…in letter and spirit”. The organisers will be liable to face legal proceedings in case of any violation of the agreed terms and conditions, adds the agreement.

Following the signing of the affidavit by the PTI, the Islamabad government formally issued the party a No Objection Certificate (NOC) to hold a rally on Nov 30 at the agreed venue.

Nisar said everyone has the right to protest and hold public meetings and pointed out that the government showed tolerance despite crossing of limits by the organisers of the sit-ins.

The minister said the government would not allow anybody to invade Islamabad and warned that the security forces will act in accordance with the law if participants of the rally entered the Red Zone. He said that the PTI would not be allowed to violate the terms and conditions it agreed to obey to hold the rally and pointed out that the party earlier had violated the agreement but the government showed tolerance.

Earlier, Nisar called on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and briefed him about the security arrangements made for the PTI rally. Sources said the prime minister approved the security arrangements made for the occasion.