PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Tuesday directed the district administration to designate a place for protests in the provincial capital to prevent traffic jams.
The directions were issued by a bench consisting of Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan and Justice Shakeel Ahmad during the hearing intoa notice taken by the court of the frequent snarl-ups in the city.
The court had directed the additional advocate general to ensure an early resolution of the issue.
The Tuesday hearing was attended by advocate general Shumail Ahmed Butt, additional advocate general Syed Sikandar Shah, Peshawar commissioner Riaz Khan Mehsud, Capital City Police Officer Mohammad Ijaz Khan and deputy commissioner Shafiullah Khan.
At the outset, the chief justice asked officials about the steps taken to address the blocking of roads by a ‘handful of protesters’ in the capital city on a daily basis.
Commissioner Riaz Khan Mehsud said the district administration would designate a place in Jinnah Park opposite the historic Bala Hisar Fort on the GT Road in the capital city for demonstrations and protest rallies.
CCPO Mohammad Ijaz Khan said that the district police had set up security checkpoints across the city due to the recent incidents of terrorism.
He said that the police had received alerts about attacks by the local and foreign terrorist outfits, so checkpoints had been put up in different parts of the city as a precautionary measure.
The CCPO said that the city police were doing their best not to cause any trouble to the people, especially road users, while countering terror threats.
“We have approved the hiring a consultant to propose a mechanism for checking all vehicles without traffic disruption,” he said.
The chief justice told him said the authorities should continue taking measures against terrorism while ensuring the people should not suffer from them.
He observed that street protests by students, teachers and government employees frequently occurred in the city.
Mr Mehsud told the bench that earlier a space was reserved near the provincial assembly’s building for the people to stage protests.
He, however, said that the protests at that place led to the blocking of roads and therefore, a space would be reserved in the nearby Jinnah Park for staging rallies or demonstrations.
Chief Justice Qaiser Rasheed Khan later directed the district administration to take necessary steps to address traffic issue in an effective manner.
He also said that a space should be reserved to enable demonstrators to record protest on their respective issues with the relevant authorities without causing traffic jams across the city.
The high court is already hearing a petition filed by senior journalist Mohammad Jamshid Baghwan seeking orders for the administration against granting no objection certificates to political parties and organisations, which block roads or hold street protests causing the disruption of the people’s movement.
The journalist had also sought the high court’s orders to declare that the holding of any rally or protest on roads in front of the provincial assembly building is illegal and that the representatives of protesters should be allowed to submit their protest note or charter of demand to the government’s representatives without disrupting the flow of traffic on the roads.
Published in Dawn