In an attempt to avoid further trauma from the likes of the PTI, the government has decided to abolish D Chowk. The crossing has a parade ground next to it that lent itself very well to mass protests. The government is calling it a matter of national security. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan stated that no political party would be allowed to hold rallies there.

However, this is not up to the government. Any party or association has the right to congregate and peacefully protest. Yes, these protests are an inconvenience and disrupt the city, but it does not take away from their right to free speech. The government can manipulate public property whatever way it wants to try to save itself from another embarrassment, but it cannot stop anyone’s right to protest.

Even last year, the government tried to block paths with containers upon containers, causing a national transportation crisis. The PTI can be blamed for the long-winded protests, but they were not the ones creating a maze out of containers in the city. Abolishing D-Chowk may actually be an easier way to deal with the drama. The Interior Ministry will get final approval of the PM after his return from abroad in this connection. The Minister added that there would be security repercussions if someone was allowed to go the area and said PTI showed maturity to postpone its October 4 rally at D Chowk.

Even with the constant irritant that the PTI has been, let us not forget that the anti-rigging mantra has been an important factor in making the ECP and the electables clean up their act. The men of the ruling party have many times been caught read handed; from shady business practices to failed energy and education schemes to election manipulation. It is easy to do way with public spaces, and harass a party like the PTI for acting up, but the root causes that spark social and political unrest need to be addressed.