Misuse of Section 144

The announcement by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to start its election campaign on Sunday was met with yet another imposition of Section 144 by Punjab’s Caretaker Government. This ban on political activities and gatherings, as well as arms exhibitions, is a clear attempt to stifle opposition parties such as PTI. However, it is concerning to note that other events such as the Pakistan Super League (PSL) matches and other gatherings are allowed to continue, highlighting the arbitrary nature of this ban.

Moreover, the timing of this ban is particularly suspicious, as the government is set to start its own election campaign on Monday, with former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif leading it. This raises the question of whether the ban on PTI’s campaign is politically motivated, and whether the caretaker government is trying to give an unfair advantage to the ruling party.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan has vehemently condemned the use of force by the caretaker government, calling for people to recognize the faces of the rulers who have ruled with cruelty. This statement reflects the frustration and anger felt by opposition parties who are being prevented from engaging in political activities by the government.

This is not the first time that the caretaker government has imposed a ban on political gatherings, with the PTI rally in favor of judiciary earlier this month being subject to the same restrictions. It is important to note that this rally was also part of the election campaign, and the ban prevented the party from engaging with the public and mobilizing support.

The fact that the caretaker government lifted the ban on gatherings immediately after PTI Chairman Imran Khan asked his workers to go home is telling. This suggests that the government’s actions are not based on law and constitution, but rather on a desire to suppress the opposition and protect the interests of the ruling party.

It is important for all political parties to be able to engage with the public and gather support for their agendas. The rule of law should be respected, and bans on political gatherings should not be used as a tool to stifle opposition. If the public likes a particular party, they will vote for them, and it is not the government’s place to interfere with this process.

The actions of the caretaker government against PTI are concerning and suggest that the government is playing a false game. It is crucial for all parties to be able to engage in political activities without fear of retribution, and for the rule of law to be respected. The federal government should also remember this and allow all parties to engage with the public on an equal footing.

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