Section 144 imposed in Punjab to maintain law and order during Muharram

The Punjab government on Saturday imposed Section 144 across the province during Muharram in light of “potential threat to public peace, sectarian harmony and general law and order situation”.

According to an order issued by the Ministry of Interior, seen by, Section 144 would remain in force during the first 10 days of Muharram. The Act empowers authorities to issue orders in the public interest, which can impose a ban on activity for a specified period of time.

It said “innovations in processes”, display of weapons, hate speech and distribution of sectarian materials would be banned.

The occupation of rooftops along the procession routes by spectators, as well as the construction of “shooting shelters” on said rooftops, would be prohibited to prevent people from potentially throwing bottles, rocks or other objects at worshippers, the order said.

In addition, riding pylons – except for senior citizens, ladies and law enforcement agencies – will be prohibited from Muharram 7-10.

Today’s order came a day after the Punjab government requisitioned the services of 150 companies of the Pakistan Army and Rangers to maintain law and order across the province during Muharram. A formal letter was sent to the Ministry of Home Affairs for this purpose.

Earlier this week, the provincial administration also wrote a letter to the interior ministry asking for the suspension of six social media platforms for about a week during Muharram.

However, a statement issued by the Ministry of Interior on Friday said that no decision has yet been taken on the request to shut down the internet, adding that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will take the final decision in this regard.