PTI postpones Islamabad power show after NOC saga

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PTI postpones Islamabad power show after NOC saga

ISLAMABAD, JUL 6: The PTI has postponed its power show, which was set to be held in Islamabad’s Tarnol at 6pm today, after the district administration cancelled the no-objection certificate issued to the party.

Earlier this week, the PTI moved the Islamabad High Court to obtain the NOC from the administration. On Thursday, the IHC disposed of the petition when the state counsel claimed that the NOC had already been granted for the rally.

However, the Islamabad administration in an official press release issued on Friday, without naming the party, stated the NOC for the “political gathering” had been cancelled due to “security issues”.

It said the NOC issued by the deputy commissioner was reviewed afresh in the wake of security concerns and the chief commissioner while keeping in view the current security situation, the advent of Muharram, security concerns and reports of law enforcement agencies, decided to cancel the certificate issued for the political gathering.

While speaking to reporters late last night, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Omar Ayub Khan had stated that his party would go ahead with the planned meeting “come what may”.

In a press conference alongside PTI Chairman Barrister Gohar Khan today, Ayub announced that the party had decided to postpone the rally. “God willing […] we will hold it after Ashura through a legal process,” he said.

“Not just this jalsa, we will hold several other rallies in Lahore, Karachi and other cities,” he stated. “Don’t force us towards a mass agitation,” Ayub warned.

He said that coordinates for the Tarnol rally had been given to the party by the district administration. “Our preparations were underway until late last night … but then the police sealed the site and the deputy commissioner cancelled the NOC,” he lamented.

“What was the deputy commissioner on? Were you not in your senses while signing the order? Did you not think of Muharram then?” the PTI leader asked.

At the outset of the media briefing, Barrister Gohar claimed that several PTI workers had been picked up in recent days, vowing to take the matter before the court. “We strongly condemn this state brutality,” he said.

“This government […] will only last a few days. God willing, our struggle for democracy will continue,” he added.

Contempt petition
Earlier in the day, the party filed a petition in the IHC seeking contempt proceedings against the Islamabad district administration and police.

The plea, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, named Islamabad chief commissioner, deputy commissioner, inspector general of police, senior superintendent of police (operations), and the SHOs of Tarnol and Ramna police stations as respondents.

It stated that the party had approached the IHC for the NOC to hold the rally and during the course of the hearing the court was told that permission had been granted for the same.

The plea pointed out that the Islamabad police had arrested PTI Islamabad region’s president Amir Mughal outside the deputy commissioner’s office a day ahead of the planned power show.

“All the respondents have started creating hindrance in holding jalsa having connivance with each other from the start of issuance of NOC,” it stated adding that a number of PTI workers were also harassed.

The petition further said that the reasons cited for the cancellation of the NOC were “malafide”, “based on ulterior motives”, a result of “political victimisation” and a “clear contempt” of the court orders.

It subsequently prayed that contempt proceedings should be initiated against the respondents and the party should be allowed to hold the rally as per the NOC. It also requested that the authorities should be restrained from harassing PTI workers.