PDM show service providers in hot water

LAHORE: A day after the public meeting of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) at Minar-i-Pakistan, the Lahore police launched a crackdown on service providers for the event.

The police high-ups assigned a task to the divisional SPs to identify and arrest those who managed chairs and other goods for the public meeting of the PDM and take legal action against them.

Similarly, the district government was also assigned the same task and accordingly, the Shahdara police registered a criminal case against two major dealers — Mian Imran and Mian Shahid — for ‘facilitating’ the PDM show by selling 7,000 chairs.

The FIR was lodged against them on the complaint of Patwari Farrukhabad Mohammad Javed.

Two traders booked for selling 7,000 chairs

Mr Javed alleged that the traders sold the chairs to suspect Mohammad Shafiq and nominated him too in the case.

He alleged in the FIR that the suspects blatantly violated standard operating procedure (SOP) and the Section 144 imposed by the Punjab government.

The complainant claimed that suspect Shafiq purchased chairs from the shop of Mian Shahid and Mian Imran that was located near New Ravi Bridge.

An official said the police obtained some photographs and video clips of one of the suspects Mian Imran when he made his appearance in the [PDM] public meeting.

He said the police personnel deputed for the security at the meeting confiscated most of the chairs from the venue and also deployed force so that no one could collect [the chairs].

He said the police launched a crackdown for the arrest of the other suspects according to the list [of shopkeepers and big dealers] provided to the divisional SPs and the station house officers to take action against them.

Fearing police action, many of them have gone underground after closing their business points.

There were also reports that the police officials were [allegedly] harassing the dealers and shopkeepers probably on the pressure of the high-ups to ensure arrests as per directions.

Published in Dawn, December 15th, 2020