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Pakistan: Islamabad HC disallows power shows in key area of federal capital

ANI | Updated: Mar 20, 2022 14:21 IST

Islamabad [Pakistan], March 20 (ANI): The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Saturday ruled against any political gathering in Red Zone which houses important government institutions amid fear that the public meetings and power shows of separate political camps at the same venue could result in an explosive situation.
This decision was taken ahead of the Parliament proceedings over the no-trust motion, to address concerns of a possible clash between parliamentarians and political workers on Constitution Avenue, which houses important institutions like the Parliament House, Supreme Court, Presidency and the Prime Minister Office, the Dawn newspaper reported.
Other key installations are also located within the Red Zone include Punjab House, Balochistan House, KPK House, Election Commission of Pakistan and residences of the apex court judges.
Following the attack on the Sindh House by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) lawmakers, the Imran Khan government had expressed the government's inability to handle enraged protesters.
"Sindh House is in a very sensitive area where Chief Justice House, Ministers Colony and other important residences are located. Peoples Party and PML-N should shift the turncoats to some other building otherwise this show will continue for a month and we are unable to stop all the [enraged] protestors," Pakistan's Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said in a tweet.

As the political turmoil in Pakistan continues to exacerbate, rights groups have warned that democratic institutions in the country are facing a new threat.
Opposition political parties this month sought a no-confidence motion in Parliament to remove Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. Government officials responded by threatening violence and briefly detaining two members of parliament (MPs). The situation risks spiralling into a dangerous confrontation.
Under Pakistan's constitution, the Prime Minister ceases to hold office if the majority of the members of the National Assembly vote for a motion of no confidence. The government has announced that this vote will be held on March 28.
On March 10, police stormed the parliamentarians' apartments in Islamabad and detained two opposition MPs along with several other opposition activists. The police alleged that volunteers from the opposition Jamiat-Ulema-e-Islam F (JUI-F) had entered the apartments without permission.
Fawad Chaudhry suggested that supporters would come to Islamabad on voting day and warned that anyone who wishes to vote against Khan would "have to pass through these people on their way in and out of the Parliament building."
In response, the opposition Pakistan Democratic Alliance (PDM) called on its own supporters to also gather in Islamabad, setting the stage for a potentially violent confrontation. According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), the government has a responsibility to uphold the constitution and allow for voting without threats or violence on the no-confidence motion.
"Both the government and opposition should send a strong message to their supporters not to subvert the democratic process or sway the vote through intimidation or other criminal acts," the rights watchdog added. (ANI)