Police cracked down on PTI activists early Saturday for organising a public gathering in a Sialkot ground used by the area’s Christians without their consent.
The Sialkot administration had dismissed the PTI’s request to hold the political gathering on the ground and gave them other options in the district.
However, the PTI activists went ahead.
The administration then told the police to arrest PTI leader Usman Dar and other local leaders, according to video footage being circulated on social media. The police did not confirm any arrests had taken place.
Instead, the police cordoned off the ground and used machinery to clear it.
Earlier this week, the CTI ground administration wrote a letter to the deputy commissioner saying that the PTI did not ask for permission to hold its rally there. The church organisation said they do not want the ground to be used for “any other purpose except the annual prayer meeting during the Sialkot Convention” and therefore the gathering would be cancelled.
PML-N’s MPA from Faisalabad Khalid Tahir Sindhu, who is Christian, said the gathering was cancelled over safety reasons as they feared a clash between the Christians and party workers. “Music is played during the public gatherings therefore it is inappropriate to use that ground for a political purpose,” he said.
The Christians also filed a petition in the Lahore High Court and the court ordered the deputy commissioner to intervene.
CM Hamza Shehbaz
Punjab CM Hamza Shehbaz said the PTI should arrange its gathering at some other place in Sialkot and no one would be allowed to take the law into their hands.
While talking to Aaj News, PTI leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi said: “There is no government in Punjab and bureaucracy will be responsible if it creates hurdles in the organisation of the event and any mishap occurs there.”
In his opinion, the public gathering should be held and ex-PM Imran Khan should address the event come what may.
Former federal minister and PTI leader Asad Umar in a tweet said: “The imported government has frightened by Imran Khan’s historic meetings and arrested Usman Dar and others from Sialkot.”
He announced that the ex-prime minister Imran would visit Sialkot today and address the rally.