Right decision

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ACCORDING to media reports, Islamabad District Administration has declined to give permission both to the government and the joint opposition for holding public meetings/rallies at D-Chowk in front of the Parliament House in Islamabad on March 27.

It rightly believes that since both the government and the opposition were seeking the same venue, there was a possibility of a clash between the participants of the two sides.

It has been reported that the Government has been asked to hold its public meeting at Parade Ground near Faizabad Flyover and the opposition at H-9 Sector.

The decision of the ICT Administration is, of course, very appropriate as it would help defuse the tension and mitigate the possibility of the feared showdown between the two sides on the occasion.

The political parties are surely entitled to mobilize public opinion in favour of their point of views but all this should be strictly within the ambit of law and Constitution.

We have seen in the past that rallies and sit-ins at Faizabad and D-Chowk were freely used to create hurdles in the smooth working of the government and violent mobs obstructed the flow of traffic and movement of people.

In the case of D-Chowk, it is situated in the Capital’s Red Zone housing Parliament House, Aiwan-e-Sadr, PM Secretariat and various ministries, divisions, headquarters of different organizations and foreign embassies.

It was because of the security concerns that the judiciary has repeatedly given instructions to the government as well as local administration not to allow holding of rallies and sit-ins at this venue but the directions were grossly violated.

This time round, the government seems to have responded positively to the decision of the ICT Administration as, according to reports, it has asked for grant of permission to hold the announced rally at the Parade Ground and this is also in line with the declaration made by the Attorney-General of Pakistan in front of the Supreme Court bench hearing presidential reference on interpretation of Article 63-A that no lawmaker would be physically obstructed from exercising his/her right of vote on the occasion of voting on no-trust motion.

This is important in the backdrop of repeated statements made by some leaders of the ruling party that the defectors will have to pass through a sea of people before and after casting their votes, which was considered to be a pressure tactic.

It is still preferable that no rally is held at all in any part of Islamabad till completion of the process of no-confidence motion but even if these are held elsewhere, the two sides must undertake to keep them disciplined and peaceful.

 

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