Imran calls public at Minar-e-Pakistan on Sunday
PTI chief kickstarted campaign with a rally from Zaman Park to Data Darbar on Monday
LAHORE (Dunya News) – Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Monday announced a power show at Minar-e-Pakistan on March 19 (Sunday) while he was briefly addressing the participants of an election rally he had kickstarted from his Zaman Park residence in Lahore, with the claims surfacing that Islamabad police had arrived in Lahore to arrest him.
It comes as a schedule for elections in Punjab has been announced. The polls are scheduled to be held on April 30.
However, the capital police rebutted claims of a police team arriving in Lahore to arrest the PTI chief in connection with threatening a woman judge case.
The police spokesperson said police personnel were already present in Lahore adding the police would proceed after due consultations. “Police officials will deliberate before taking the move”, he added.
— PTI (@PTIofficial) March 13, 2023
The rally began with nearly two hours delay as it was scheduled to kickstart at 2pm. It concluded at Data Darbar where Mr Khan was warmly welcomed by the participants with garlands and flowers showering on his car. The PTI chief responded to their calls by waving his hand inside the car. He also briefly addressed the participants while seated in the car saying the public release of Toshakhana's record brought facts to light. "The whole nation has to fight", he added.
Containers were parked on roads in several areas including Garhi Shahu, Canal Road and Dharampura as preemptive measures by police. The barricades disrupted flow of traffic on the roads.
— PTI (@PTIofficial) March 13, 2023
The former prime minister on Sunday rescheduled the rally at the eleventh hour until Monday after the party failed to get relief either from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) or the Lahore High Court (LHC) against the imposition of the Section 144 in the provincial capital.
The interim Punjab government had imposed ban on rallies and demonstration late Saturday night in the wake of a PSL match at Gaddafi Stadium and a marathon race in the city.
Keeping in view the situation, Mr Khan took to Twitter and postponed the rally while urging workers to not engage in any confrontation as the government wanted to provoke clashes between party and police to delay the elections.
“It seems again Sec 144 has been imposed illegally solely on PTI election campaign as all other public activities are ongoing in Lahore. Only Zaman Park has been surrounded by containers & heavy police contingent. Clearly, like 8 March, Punjab CM & police want to provoke clashes to file more sham FIRs against PTI leadership & workers & to use as pretext for postponing elections,” he wrote on Twitter.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) March 12, 2023
“Election Schedule has been announced so how can Sec 144 be imposed on pol activity? I AM TELLING ALL PTI WORKERS NOT TO FALL INTO THIS TRAP. Hence we have postponed rally till tomorrow,” Mr Khan concluded.
The PTI has filed a petition in the Lahore High Court against the imposition of Section 144 in Lahore after issuance of election schedule for general polls.
PTI leader Hammad Azhar submitted the petition through his counsel Azhar Siddique. The ECP, the Punjab government and others have been made party in the petition.
The petitioner contended that after release of election schedule, Section 144 could not be imposed in the province. Seeking revocation of the restrictions, the court was pleaded to issue a guideline in this regard for future.
The petition stated that the ECP should end the implementation of Section 144. The implementation of Section 144 on the PTI rally in Lahore is illegal and also a violation of the Supreme Court’s decision.
The city district administration in Punjab capital has ordered closure of all the schools and colleges located on the route designated for the PTI owing to security threats by 12pm today (Monday).
Lahore Commissioner Muhammad Ali Randhawa issued the directives. He also asked people to keep their shops located on Circular Road closed after 12pm.
The district administration conditionally allowed the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf to stage rally. Sources said interim Chief Minister Mohsin Raza Naqvi directed the district administration to meet the PTI’s leaders and finalise the strategy for the rally. The administration, however, warned the PTI’s leaders to not give statements against the judiciary and institutions.
It is clear PTI chairman Imran Khan postponed the rally which was to be held on Sunday after suggesting his supporters to remain peaceful given section 144 in Lahore.