Imran Khan postpones election rally till tomorrow after govt imposes Section 144 in Lahore

PTI Chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan on Sunday announced to postpone till tomorrow the election rally earlier scheduled to be taken out from Zaman Park to Data Gang Bakhsh Shrine on Sunday.

The announcement came after the interim Punjab government refused to withdraw Section 144 imposed in the provincial capital.

“It seems again that Section 144 has been imposed illegally solely on the PTI election campaign as all other public activities are ongoing in Lahore,” Khan said in a series of tweets.

The former premier claimed that only Zaman Park had been surrounded by containers and a heavy police contingent.

“Clearly, like March 8, Punjab CM and police want to provoke clashes to file more sham FIRs against the PTI leadership and workers and use it as a pretext for postponing elections.

“Election schedule has been announced so how can Section 144 be imposed on political activity? I AM TELLING ALL PTI WORKERS NOT TO FALL INTO THIS TRAP. Hence we have postponed the rally till tomorrow,” he added.

“The rally could be held either tomorrow or day after tomorrow,” PTI leader Hammad Azhar said while addressing media in the provincial capital.

The decision comes after PTI challenged the Section 144 imposed by the Punjab government in Lahore in the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) ahead of its election rally in the provincial capital.

PTI leader Babar Awan filed the plea in the ECP on the instructions of party Chairman Imran Khan

The Punjab government Saturday night again announced imposing Section 144 (banning of large gatherings) in Lahore to avoid any "untoward incidents". 

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has challenged Section 144 imposed in Lahore in the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

Talking to media, PTI leader and lawyer Babar Awan said a petition had been filed in the electoral body against the imposition of Section 144 in Lahore.

Earlier PTI chairman Imran Khan had a telephonic conversation with Babar Awan and directed him to challenge Section 144 in the ECP.

The petition stated that the ECP should end the implementation of Section 144. The implementation of Section 144 on PTI rally in Lahore is illegal and also a violation of the Supreme Court’s decision.

It further said the Punjab government is trying to stop the rally by using PSL match as justification, but the route of the rally and match is different, adding that the rally will end at 5:30pm while the PSL match will start at 7pm. 

It said Section 144 has not been imposed during PSL in any city before and election campaign is the constitutional right of PTI.

What is Section 144?

The Section 144 prohibits all kinds of corner meetings, jalsa, public gatherings and congregations in the areas.

The caretaker Punjab government on late Saturday imposed Section 144 in Lahore after PTI chairman announced the rally to start his election campaign.

This is the second time in less than a week that the interim government has imposed the restriction ahead of the election rally of the party.

On the other hand, PTI leader Yasmin Rashid has also submitted a request against the provincial government's decision to ban rallies in ECP's office in Lahore.

Earlier, PTI vice president Shah Mahmood Qureshi flanked by former minister Fawad Chaudhry said that the party had decided to approach the Lahore High Court (LHC) against the imposition of Section 144.

“We are waiting for the registrar. As soon as he comes we will put forward this emergent situation,” he told reporters. 

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