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Red Zone declared ‘red zone’ for political rallies

PTI shifts March 27 rally venue from D-Chowk to Parade Ground as authorities deny permission

The Islamabad district administration on Monday denied permission to both the federal government and the opposition parties to hold political rallies in the capital’s Red Zone on March 27 in the wake of a no-trust move against the prime minister, forcing the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to change the venue of its power show from D-Chowk to Parade Ground.

Islamabad Inspector General (IG) Qazi Jamilur Rehman told the Supreme Court that Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure had been broadened to include the Red Zone area. In a tweet, the PTI said that “the Parade Ground will be more suitable to accommodate the number of people that are expected to participate in the rally.”

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Earlier, PTI Senator Faisal Javed Khan, too, had tweeted that the D-Chowk would prove to be a “small venue” for what he described would be the “biggest rally in the history of Pakistan”. Prior to the imposition of Section 144, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Saturday had also ruled against holding any political gathering in Red Zone, which houses important government institutions, including the Parliament House, Supreme Court, Presidency and the Prime Minister’s Office.

According to reports, the administration had given permission to the ruling PTI to organise its rally at Parade Ground and asked the opposition parties to use Sector H-9 as their venue for theirs.

The ICT administration is of the opinion that since both the government and the opposition were seeking the same venue, there was a possibility of a clash between the participants. It also said that holding rallies in the Red Zone would also create security concerns.

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