The district administration in Mardan on Sunday denied a group of activists permission to stage a peaceful rally for Mashal Khan.
The protest had been arranged by some women activists of the province and was due to be joined by activists from other provinces at the Bacha Khan Square in Mardan on Sunday morning. But after the no-objection certificate (NOC) was turned down, the event was postponed.
Enraged at the denial by the district administration, the activists had requested the district police officer to provide security to their rally.
But lacking an NOC, District Police Officer (DPO) Dr Mian Saeed urged the women activists not to hold their rally as it could lead to a confrontation.
“We are law-abiding citizens and we have accepted the DPO’s request as he was of the view that this peaceful protest would result in a confrontation with the district [administration] and may endanger the security situation in the district,” activist and leading social worker Sana Ejaz said while talking to The Express Tribune.
Meanwhile, Awami National Party Central Vice President Bushra Gohar condemned the Mardan police and district administration for refusing to provide security and permission for the rally.
“The district administration can provide security and protection to those who demand that all those who took part in lynching Mashal but turn down an NOC for those who support justice and give strength to the voice for justice,” she said while expressing her shock at the move. Meanwhile, Mardan District Commissioner and other officers of the district administration declined to comment on the matter.
However, a senior officer at the Mardan DC office told The Express Tribune that the activists had applied for the NOC but the police, who has to clear such events, did not find the rally suitable
“Under the circumstances, things would have deteriorated,” the official said.