Imran calls off Lahore rally after Sec 144 re-imposed

Ex-PM says party workers should not fall into govt’s trap of creating ‘bloodshed’ n Claims PTI already has a plan ‘if he is arrested’ n PTI rally now to be taken out today n Punjab CM says no ban on taking out rallies; Section 144 imposed as a one-time measure for PSL matches security.

LAHORE     -   Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan Sunday called off the party’s election rally scheduled for Sunday after the provincial government imposed Section 144 in the city.

Imran Khan in his tweets announced the postponement of the election rally in Lahore till Monday saying the party workers should not fall into the trap of the government. “It seems only PTI is being illegally banned from conducting a political activity, whereas other public activities are going on in other areas of Lahore. Only Zaman Park is surrounded by containers and a heavy contingent of police”.

Imran Khan alleged that the caretaker chief minister Punjab and the police wanted to incite a clash like of March 8, adding that such tactics are a conspiracy to stop the elections. “The election schedule has been announced, so how Article 144 be imposed,” he asked.

He also said that the PTI already has a plan in case of his arrest. “In case I am arrested we have a plan ready which will be shared with the nation when the time is right,” he said in his tweets.

Defending his decision to defer the rally, Khan said that he got scared after seeing the turnover of the PTI supporters and was afraid that there might be bloodshed if everybody came out. Khan further stated that the government will lodge more fake FIRs against the PTI leadership and workers to use as a pretext for delaying the elections. He asked all PTI workers not to fall into this trap and postponed the rally till tomorrow. The announcement came a few hours after the PTI challenged the re-imposition of Section 144 in Lahore by the Punjab government in the Election Commission of Pakistan. Following the re-imposition of section 144 in Lahore within the span of 4 days by the Punjab government, roads leading to Zaman Park were cordoned off by the administration with containers besides deployment of police officials to stop PTI from initiating a political rally. Earlier, the caretaker government placed more than 30 containers to block the roads leading to Zaman Park. Police officials were equipped with tear gas, arms shells, batons and were seen fully prepared and stationed to stop PTI workers and leaders. Caretaker chief minister Mohsin Naqvi in his tweet has justified the re-imposition of section 144 saying there was no restriction on doing political activities and all the political parties are allowed to run their political campaigns. “Political activities have been restricted only for Sunday due to a PSL match. There was also a marathon race event in the city and all other events were being finalized in advance in the city”. The caretaker government of Punjab had also called the Rangers to deal with any untoward incident. Due to Section 144, Rangers were deployed at Zaman Park and other important spots.

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