APAT officials request PEMRA, media outlets to stop coverage of Qadri’s planned protest
LAHORE: The All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiran will move the Lahore High Court on Tuesday (today) against the Punjab government, making the chief secretary, capital city police officer (CCPO), commissioner, deputy commissioner and the chief traffic officer (CTO) a party, to stop the planned protest rally, announced by Pakistan Awami Tehreek chief Tahirul Qadri, on The Mall on Wednesday (January 17).
Addressing a press conference on Monday at the Lahore Press Club, APAT Secretary General Naeem Mir requested the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, all media outlets to stop coverage of Qadri’s planned protest due to his contempt of the court. He appealed to Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Saqib Nisar to take suo moto notice of this contempt, giving direction to the LHC to accept the petition immediately and pass the decision the same day, so that the order of ban could be implemented on Jan 17 properly.
He said that a petition has already been moved by a citizen against January 17 protest but Justice Shahid Karim has issued notices for January 20. “What is the benefit of accepting this petition when the decision is not made before January 17?” he asked. Taking strict stance, he said that the chief justice was taking notices of bad condition of hospitals, adulteration of water, milk and high fee structure of private medical colleges but he was not taking action against the non-implementation of his own courts’ rulings.
Referring to a dialogue of Bol movie that “if you are unable to feed your children why do you give them birth?” Naeem Mir asked the CJP as to why does the court pass order which it cannot get implemented. He said that in view of Article 18 of the Constitution, every citizen has equal right of freedom of trade and business and creating disturbance and hurdles in their business activities was a crime.
In November 2011, LHC Justice Ijaz Chaudhry imposed ban on all kinds of protest and rallies on The Mall on the petition of the All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiran. Later on, a petition against the government’s failure to stop protest rallies on The Mall, the court also issued notices to the Punjab police chief and the home secretary, asking them to ensure implementation of the order and allocate alternate locations for the rallies.
On the order of LHC, The Mall was declared as red zone from Mian Mir Bridge to PMG crossing. PAT chief Qadri has announced his protest plan from Jan 17 (Wednesday), closing all trade and business activities in the surrounding markets of The Mall, Bidon Road, Hall Road, McLeod Road, Panorama Centre etc while the closure of the GPO Chowk has already affected the business due to the construction work of the Orange Line Train.
The APAT demanded Qadri to follow the court order, as he always claims to stand for the ‘supremacy of rule of law’. “He (Qadri) should respect the court orders and ensure that the ban of the rallies and public meeting be implemented in its true spirit.” Naeem Mir criticised Qadri, terming him a remote control toy, who starts protests whenever he is directed.
Regarding last rally of Tahirul Qadri, he said that the court had restricted his procession to Tollington Market from Nasir Bagh, asking him to conclude it till 10pm. He argued that the protests on busy roads like The Mall not only hamper traffic, but also restrict the movement of people and affect business activities.