Constitutional repercussions if protests continued to hamper freedom of movement: Sanaullah

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders Balighur Rehman and Rana Sanaullah separately warned the former ruling party of ‘constitutional repercussions’ if protests continued to hamper citizens’ freedom of movement.

In a media talk at the Civil Hospital in Karachi, Punjab Governor Balighur Rehman said governor’s rule in the province cannot be ruled out in light of the prevailing circumstances. He, however, termed it an “extreme measure” with constitutional cover nonetheless.

“…the Constitution allows such measures…not among the impossible things but there are certain merits which define the time of its imposition,” the governor said while referring to the attack on Governor House allegedly by supporters of the PTI. “So the way the law is being defied and writ of the state being challenged, it’s not a good thing,” he warned.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah told the governments of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) to either follow the Constitution or be ready for ‘constitutional consequences’.

Addressing a press conference, the interior minister accused the Punjab and KP police of abetting and protecting small groups of protesters choking motorways, highways, and link roads.

He said maintaining law and order was the responsibility of the provincial governments, adding that written instructions have been issued to the chief secretaries of Punjab and KP to remove the protesters to ensure freedom of movement guaranteed by the Constitution. He said the provincial governments were responsible to keep the national highways and motorway toll plazas open. “If this is not taken seriously, it will have constitutional consequences”, he remarked.

In identical letters written to both provinces, Mr Sanaullah requested the KP and Punjab governments to “immediately remove the protestors to restore smooth movement on motorways, highways and link roads”.

Mr Sanaullah noted that this was not a long march rather the two provinces wanted to invade the federation. He said the police erected barriers on both sides of the roads to stop the people from reaching the small groups of protestors to get the way cleared. “They will not find a place to run and hide if sanity does not prevail”, he remarked.

The minister also mocked Imran Khan for FIR over the Wazirabad gun attack. “They talk about bringing about revolution and could not even get an FIR registered as per their wishes. You should now understand what is your worth,” he added. Answering a question, the PML-N, however, said it was not possible to register FIR as per the complaint’s wishes in the absence of “convincing evidence” for criminal investigation.

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