The Punjab government on Friday imposed Section 144 for a period of seven days to deal with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and doctors’ protests.

The Section 144 was enforced across the province in light of “the prevailing law and order situation.” It effectively puts ban on protests and public gatherings.

The PTI had announced before Eid that it would carry out nationwide protests demanding the release of the leader, Imran Khan.

A Home Department order says Section 144 has been imposed with immediate effect and will be in place for seven days. It empowers authorities to issue orders in public interest that may place a ban on an activity for a specific period of time.

The order states: “It has been observed that in view of the prevailing law and order situation and security threats, any gathering/ assembly is likely to provide soft targets to terrorists and miscreants, which not only pose serious security threats but is also likely to cause threat to public at peace and order as well as inconvenience to public at large.”

The PTI leaders castigated the government for creating obstacles to peaceful protest. A social media post said “multiple illegal police raids” were conducted on the houses of the PTI leaders in Khanewal.

The government also seems wary of an ongoing province-wide protest of doctors and paramedics. Doctors from all over the province, including Lahore, stopped working in the OPDs [out-patient departments] in response to the arrest of colleagues in Sahiwal.