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Pakistan: Imran Khan government seals Lahore eatery Butt Karahi for allowing opposition leader Maryam Nawaz to dine-in

Maryam Nawaz is the face of the Pakistan Democratic Movement, a campaign launched to organise a "long march" to the capital Islamabad in January 2021, aiming to oust the government.

The Imran Khan government in Pakistan has registered a case against a restaurant named Butt Karahi in Lahore for allowing its political rival PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz and her supporters to dine-in at the restaurant following their rally in Lahore on Thursday.

The administration also sealed the popular eatery, alleging violations of Coronavirus protocol.

Butt Karahi restaurant

At least 5 cases have been registered against Maryam Nawaz and 200 PML-N workers on the charges of flouting the coronavirus guidelines during their rally in Lahore. Nawaz has been named in two cases which are registered at the Gawalmandi police station, while one each has been lodged at the Mazang police station, Ichhra police station and Lohari Gate police station.

Maryam Nawaz had held a rally to garner support for the forthcoming rally of the Pakistan Democratic Movement. It started from her residence in Jati Umrah and finished at Data Darbar. Following her rally, Nawaz was seen relishing food at Butt Karahi, situated at Lakshmi Chowk. The PML-N leader had also praised the meal on her Twitter account.

However, before long, the Pakistani government closed off the restaurant for allowing Maryam Nawaz and her party workers to dine-in. In the wake of coronavirus crisis, dining has been banned at Lahore restaurants and they are permitted to remain open for takeaway only.

But the critics claim that the crackdown against the restaurant is not rooted in the violations of the coronavirus SOPs but the soaring popularity and support that the opposition leader in Pakistan is garnering of late. The Imran Khan government, embattled by the chronic financial crisis and coronavirus pandemic, has been spooked by the popular support that the opposition leaders have attracted from the masses. The coercive action against the restaurant is therefore perceived by many as an attempt by the PTI government in Pakistan to threaten the population from aligning with the anti-government movement launched by the opposition leaders.

Maryam Nawaz spearheads the Pakistan Democratic Movement against Pakistan Army and Imran Khan

Maryam Nawaz, the daughter of the former Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif, has taken on the Pakistani Army for its interference in politics, drawing hundreds of thousands to the ongoing rallies against the government.

Nawaz had alleged that Pakistani military had conspired against the then government by framing corruption charges against her father and installing Khan as the Prime Minister through rigged elections.

The Pakistan Democratic Movement(PDM), a campaign launched to organise a “long march” to the capital Islamabad in January 2021, aiming to oust the government. Spearheaded by Maryam Nawaz, the movement is an alliance of 11 opposition parties and has organised several anti-government rallies in Pakistan till date. It is expected to hold its last anti-government rally in Lahore on December 13. However, the Lahore administration has denied the alliance permission to hold the rally at Minar-e-Pakistan.

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