PDM rally draws lawyers’ mixed reaction

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LAHORE:Lawyers have given different opinions on PDM’s rally and expressed views on democratic and fundamental rights of people in the wake of COVID-19.

Pakistan Bar Council Vice Chairman Abid Saqi while talking to The News said if people want to join the PDM’s rallies, it is their democratic and Constitutional right and nobody could stop them.

He said in democracy people’s choice matters and it is their choice to attend political gatherings or not. Constitutionally, the government cannot bar people from holding political rallies, Saqi added.

However, Chairman Judicial Activism Panel Azhar Siddique said safety of life is a fundamental right. He said fundamental rights are more important than democratic rights. Talking about a recent judgment of the Lahore High Court, Azhar said the court had directed political parties to follow COVID-19 protocols if they wanted to hold political rallies. But in PDM rally, all the SOPs have been violated putting life of a common man at risk, he said and added that the PDM’s rally is contempt of court and the government should arrest the responsible immediately.

Muhammad Mudasar, a practicing lawyer, while talking to The News said after the implementation of COVID ordinance, political parties are not allowed to hold rallies as it could risk the lives. He said the violation which could jeopardise the lives of millions is a national crime.

Traders: Traders from different markets of Lahore reached venue of PDM public meeting in the form of a rally started from Itefaq Masjid Model Town. The trader leaders, including All Pakistan Anjum-e-Tajiran (APAT) central general secretary Naeem Mir, Mall Road Traders President Sohail Mehmood Butt, Readymade Garments Markets President Umar Javeed Butt, D-Plaza Shah Alam Market president, Karim Block Market President Syed Raza Bukhari and Faisal Town Market Chairman Saif-ur-Rehman, were on trailer and they led the rally.

Further, the leaders from Shahdara, Lytton Road, Canal Bank, Azam Cloth Market and other adjacent markets also joined the main rally of the traders from their areas on motorcycles. Shahdara Board President Mian Khalil Ubair, Lunda Bazaar President Sheikh Irfan Iqbal, Lytton Road President Malik Nazim, Azam Cloth Market President Malik Farooq, Rikshaw Union President Rizwan Butt, Petroleum Association President Sheikh Rehan, Sanda Board President Sheikh Israr Ahmed, Neela Gunbad Market President Pervaiz Rehmat, Montgomery Road representative Rana Kashif, Dawod Butt, Rauf Mughal, Shahid Ghafoor Paracha and others also participated in the rally.

Public reaction: The Pakistan Democratic Movement’s power show at Minar-e-Pakistan ground will not just strengthen the 11-party opposition alliance against the incumbent government but shape the future of national politics.

Talking to The News, a number of people from different walks of life observed that despite government’s best efforts to thwart the PDM’s rally through various tactics and the prevailing threat of COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of people thronged the venue which showed people’s trust in the democratic system and their love, support and loyalties for their respective parties.

A citizen, Adnan Aftab, said trust in the political system, in fact, guaranteed survival and it was good to see thousands of people joining the PDM jalsa from different parts of the country. He said no doubt that PDM’s Lahore jalsa delivered a strong message to those at the helm to understand that the ever-increasing inflation and poor economic conditions had really made the people’s lives miserable.

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