LHC directs govt to legislate for ban on Mall Road protests

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LAHORE: A Lahore High Court (LHC) full bench Monday directed the Punjab government to carry out necessary legislation in accordance with Articles 15 and 16 of the Constitution for imposing a ban on holding protests at Mall Road.

The bench headed by Justice Aminuddin Khan passed the orders while hearing a petition filed by Abdullah Malik against the lady health workers (LHWs) sit-in on the Mall.

At the outset of hearing, the bench was apprised that the LHWs had ended their protest after the government accepted their demands, to which, the bench noted that the government had only issued a policy imposing a ban on holding protests on Mall road, which was insufficient for the purpose.

The bench directed the government to carry out the required legislation, for imposing a ban on holding protests, in accordance with the Constitution while adjourning the further hearing till April 19. The bench also allowed the Punjab government to file a reply in this regard.

It may be noted that the petitioner, questioning the LHWs sit-in, had submitted that it was causing problems to the masses especially the commuters. He had submitted that there was a ban on holding protests on the Mall under Section 144, but despite the ban, the LHWs continued to hold a sit-in for five consecutive days.

He pleaded to the court to issue directions for stopping any further protests on the thoroughfare.

Last week, hundreds of female employees of the health department demanding service structure and up-gradation of their Basic Pay Scales (BPS) under the banner of National Program Health Employees Association Punjab (NPHEAP) had demonstrated a five-day sit-in at Charing Cross on the Mall.