Mall Road remains favourite spot for protests despite Section 144

Monday, October 27th, 2014 8:44:04 by

*Frequent protests on Mall Road, in violation of court’s orders, have adversely affected traders and ordinary citizens alike

Protest sit-ins and rallies continue to disrupt routine activities on Lahore’s main artery Mall Road despite the imposition of Section 144 by the district coordination officer (DCO) on the orders of the Lahore High Court (LHC).

No matter what the agenda of the protesters, Mall Road is the fixed venue of protests. Due to the frequent protests, traffic jams on the road have become extremely common, irking commuters and shopkeepers besides hampering rescue operations and ambulances in case of any emergency.

LETTING GO OF LIVES WHILE SAFEGUARDING RIGHTS:

The protests also block traffic flow on Cooper Road, Queen’s Road, Lawrence Road and Temple Road. Ambulances are often stuck for hours in the traffic mess and are unable to timely transport critically-ill patients to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Lady Wellingdon Hospital or Mayo Hospital, often leading to the loss of precious lives.

TRADERS’ PLIGHT:

Businessmen are also severely-hit by the protests which are conducted, on average, for 15 days a month. Some have sold their shops on Mall Road and relocated to peaceful localities.

Talking to Pakistan Today, trader Muhammad Usman said that rising inflation and frequent shut down of business on Mall Road due to the protests has made it difficult for the traders to make ends meet.

“Owing to the protests and resultant traffic jams, customers do not frequent the market. Business is adversely affected and we are unable to meet our expenses. I have run deep into debt in order to make ends meet,” Usman lamented.

“If protesting is a democratic right and cannot be curbed then at least the government should ensure that the right is not exercised on Mall Road,” he appealed.

Talking to Pakistan Today, a spokesman for the Lahore district coordination officer said that the DCO imposed Section 144 following orders of LHC and a copy of the order had been forwarded to the police.

“Now it is the police’s responsibility to initiate legal action against any protestors on Mall Road,” he said.

When contacted, Lahore Police Deputy Inspector General (Operations) Haider Ashraf said, “It is mandatory for the police and protesters to obey the court’s orders,” adding that police always tries to peacefully disperse people participating in protests on Mall Road.

Lahore News Sources

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