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Wednesday, May 22, 2024  
13 Dhul-Qadah 1445  

Imran calls off rally after police crackdown, claims worker killed

Imran Khan had planned to lead the rally while seated in a bomb-proof vehicle
Photo: Screengrab
Photo: Screengrab

PTI Chairman Imran Khan called off the party’s powershow in Lahore after police baton-charged and tear gassed protestors for several hours.

“Go back to your homes, do not participate in an agitation so they do not have an excuse to delay elections,” Imran Khan said in a message posted to Twitter.

’We are not a free nation right now,“ he added.

He also tweeted that one worker had been ‘murdered’ by the police’s crackdown.

“Pakistan is in the grip of murderous criminals,” he wrote on Twitter. He added that PTI will file cases against the IG and the CCPO.

Several Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf workers have been arrested from Zaman Park and its surrounding areas for violating Section 144 in Lahore as Police foiled PTI’s rally attempt to kick-start their election campaign.

The party workers were taken into custody from the PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s residence after the Punjab Home Department imposed Section 144 banning public rallies.

Several PTI workers were reportedly injured during the clashes with Lahore police.

Though the media has been barred from coverage of the PTI rally, the videos circulating on social sites show some eye-opening footage of police brutality.

Hundreds of PTI workers gathered around Zaman Park, as forces sealed the roads leading to the residence of PTI chairman Imran Khan.

Section 144

Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Shakeel Ahmed issued the notification in this regard stating that they have observed an increase in the number of rallies and protests on daily basis at different places of Lahore, which not only pose serious security threats but also disrupt traffic and cause inconvenience to public at large.

“Hence, in the context of the prevailing overall security situation in the wake of the recent wave of terrorism and latest threat alerts, it has been necessary to impose Section 144 of Cr.P.C, 1898 on holding of all kinds of assemblies, gatherings, sits-in, rallies, processions, demonstrations, jalsas, dharnas, protests and such like other activities across the district Lahore to avert any untoward incident,” stated in the notification.

Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Shakeel Ahmed issued the notification in this regard stating that they have observed an increase in the number of rallies and protests on daily basis at different places of Lahore, which not only pose serious security threats but also disrupt traffic and cause inconvenience to public at large.

“Hence, in the context of the prevailing overall security situation in the wake of the recent wave of terrorism and latest threat alerts, it has been necessary to impose Section 144 of Cr.P.C, 1898 on holding of all kinds of assemblies, gatherings, sits-in, rallies, processions, demonstrations, jalsas, dharnas, protests and such like other activities across the district Lahore to avert any untoward incident,” stated in the notification.

PTI rejects ban on political gatherings

PTI senior leader Fawad Hussain Chaudhary has criticised the move of the interim provincial government saying that the people of Pakistan will fight for their rights.

In a tweet, he termed the section 144 move in Lahore as the new weapon of the “fascist government”.

“The ban on political gatherings in Punjab is the new weapon of the fascist government, imperialist forces have always been afraid of the people and the people of Pakistan have always fought for their rights, we will not give up our rights,” he tweeted.

PTI leader Hammad Azhar claimed roads leading to Zaman Park have been sealed using containers by the authorities.

He asked how it is possible to impose section 144 with the election just around the corner. “This is a controversial caretaker government of Punjab.”

Moreover, he claimed that their workers have been arrested from different locations in the city.

Election campaign

PTI is all set to kick off its election campaign on Wednesday with a ‘historic’ rally from Zaman Park to Data Darbar.

Former Prime Minister Imran Khan will lead the rally while seated in a bomb-proof vehicle. He will be accompanied by senior PTI leaders.

Khan would also address the workers from the vehicle.

Reception camps have been set up at 10 places in this regard. The rally will pass through Ferozepur Road and culminate at Data Darbar.

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, PTI leader Hammad Azhar claimed that all arrangements were complete. “[Wednesday’s] rally would start from Zaman Park and march towards the tomb of Data Ali Hajveri before its culmination,” he informed the media at the party office.

Earlier, a meeting was chaired by the former primer, where he was briefed on the rally, election schedule in Punjab, other issues, route and security of the rally.

A container parked outside Zaman Park for PTI leaders has also been repaired.

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