LAHORE: The district administration of Lahore on Wednesday refused to give permission for the holding of a public meeting proposed by the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) at Greater Iqbal Park on December 13. According to details, the multi-party anti-government alliance submitted an application seeking a no-objection certificate (NOC) for the event. The organisers also sought strict security arrangements at the venue to avoid any unfortunate incident. However, the authorities rejected the request in the wake of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic across the country. The decision comes a day after Minister for Information Senator Shibli Faraz on Tuesday said the government will not resist the meetings aimed at sending the government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) packing. The government is not afraid of [PDM] rallies [it] only wants to curtail the spread of coronavirus, he said. Pakistan on Wednesday recorded 2,829 new infections of the novel coronavirus after conducting 35,197 tests — a positivity ratio of 8.04 percent. Government data recorded 75 virus-related deaths in the last 24 hours, the highest in over five months. After a peak of over 6,800 daily infections in June, the number fell to a low of 213 in August and remained below 700 for most of the last three months. But infections have picked up steadily this past month and officials have said the second wave of the disease has arrived. PETITION SEEKS BAN ON RALLY: Meanwhile, a petition was submitted in the high court seeking a court order against the meeting. The petitioner, Advocate Nadeem Sarwar, nominated the federal government, National Command and Control Centre (NCOC), PDM, PML-N and PPP as respondents. A health emergency has been enforced in the country in the wake of coronavirus, the petition recalled. “However, the PDM was holding protests despite the government’s ban on large public gatherings, which were inflating the number of coronavirus cases.” “The PDM leadership is playing with the lives and health of the people,” the petition said. The petitioner observed that “the educational institutions have been closed and other gatherings have also been banned due to the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic in the country.” He urged the court to restrain the PDM from holding the meeting and order legal action over violation of pandemic restrictions.