PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Wednesday called off the party’s rally in Lahore in the wake of the Punjab government’s crackdown on participants following the imposition of Section 144 in the provincial capital, Pakistan-based Dawn newspaper reported.
The PTI had planned to take out a rally from Zaman Park to Data Darbar. Imran and other leaders were also expected to be in attendance.
The Punjab government, however, early on Wednesday, imposed Section 144 in Lahore and also arrested several PTI workers for violating the ban.
In a video address after the crackdown on party workers, Imran said: “Stop everything. We are not taking out the rally that we were supposed to as, I am saddened to say, that all the moves they (the government) are making are aimed at running away from elections.”
“They are trying to ensure that chaos spreads and that is why I’m saying to my workers to finish it, we will not carry out the rally,” he said, as quoted by Dawn.
The PTI chief alleged that the government had launched a crackdown on PTI workers not for the sake of law and order but in an effort to avoid conducting elections in the province.
“We cannot give them (government) any excuse [to delay the elections],” the PTI chief said.
“They picked up and took away our people today as well — around 100 workers — for what reason?” he asked, according to Dawn.
The Express Tribune Newspaper recently reported that soon after reports emerged that Lahore has been placed under Section 144, banning public gatherings, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Wednesday claimed that its peaceful workers were arrested.
According to a notification being shared on social media, the Punjab caretaker government has imposed a ban on all kinds of assemblies, gatherings and rallies citing “serious security threats” and fears of “disruption of traffic”.
Furthermore, Aurat March was also scheduled to take place today near Faletti’s hotel after the Lahore High Court (LHC) had ruled that ensuring the safety of the rally’s participants was the responsibility of the local administration, according to The Express Tribune.
PTI leader and former federal minister Hammad Azhar took the caretaker setup in Punjab to task for “taking dictation” and engaging in political persecution against his party.
Speaking at Zaman Park, he said that the government was actively blocking the party from holding its rally.
“The premises have been blocked by containers, our workers are being arrested, our flags were being transported and the vehicle was also attacked,” Azhar claimed, as quoted by The Express Tribune. (ANI)