Maryam, Safdar face charges of public disturbance | Pakistan Today

Maryam, Safdar face charges of public disturbance

LAHORE: The Lahore police on Tuesday booked Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz, her husband Captain (r) Safdar Awan and scores of party leaders and workers for purportedly engaging in damaging public order while en route to Gujranwala on October 16 for the first public gathering of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).

The first information report (FIR), registered with the Shahdara police station, accuses the suspects of “causing trouble for citizens, blocking roads, unnecessarily using loudspeakers and microphones and violating coronavirus standard operating procedures (SOPs)”.

The complaint was registered under sections 269, 270, 290 and 291 of the Punjab Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance, 1960, and sections 6 and 16 of the Punjab Sound Systems (Regulation) Act, 2015.

It said that three policemen of the station — Mohammad Imran, Amir Ali and Sajjad Ahmed — were present at the Begum Kot Chowk when they were informed that PML-N leaders had set up a stage on a trawler to welcome participants of the rally.

The report says three PML-N leaders, including Safdar, were present on that stage and they, along with workers ranging from 800 to 900, were chanting slogans against the government and its institutions.

The policemen said when they reached the site, a caravan of 80 to 90 cars, led by Saleem Butt and Ali Pervez Malik, the son of PML-N Lahore president Pervaiz Malik, had also arrived. Meanwhile, the main caravan also reached Shahdara Chowk via the Niazi Shaheed Chowk.

“There were two big cranes and a truck in front of the caravan, because of which, the traffic on Shahdara Chowk, coming from all directions, was disrupted and a painful situation was created for the public.

“The organisers of the caravan were asked to remove the cranes and truck but they refused to do so. Meanwhile, Capt Safdar, Riaz and other party leaders were illegally using loudspeakers and microphones to rouse party workers by raising incendiary slogans against the government and law enforcement agencies,” the FIR reads.

It added that despite multiple threat advisories issued by security agencies to the PML-N leadership, party vice-president Maryam Nawaz came out of her car and addressed workers.

“Maryam then ignored security SOPs and addressed the workers, exposing herself and putting her life in danger.

“In this way, Maryam, Safdar and other leaders and workers collectively violated the law by sloganeering against the government, causing trouble for citizens, violated SOPs by not maintaining social distancing, blocking roads and [through] unnecessary use of loudspeakers and microphones.”

The FIR further added that Maryam, in her address, asked party workers and leaders to “be ready to send Imran Khan’s government home”, adding that it incited them and they started “extreme sloganeering against the government”.

“Malik Riaz, Samiullah Khan, Pervaiz Rashid, Rana Mohammad Iqbal, Rana Mohammad Hayat, Rana Sikandar Hayat, Rana Mubashir Iqbal, Mohammad Zubair, Mirza Javed, Bilal Yasin, Saiful Malook Khokhar, retired Colonel Mubasir and Capt Safdar along with 2,000 to 2,200 party workers were present in Shahdara Chowk in blatant violation of the government’s coronavirus SOPs.”

According to the FIR, none of the leaders or workers were wearing a mask or maintaining social distancing. Traffic was also badly blocked from New Ravi Bridge to the matchsticks factory on GT Road and from Shahdara Chowk to Begum Kot Chowk [because of the rally], it said.