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Ex PM says party workers should not fall into government’s trap of creating ‘bloodshed’ n Claims PTI already has a plan ‘if arrested’ n PTI rally now to take it out today n Punjab CM says nothing a ban on holding rallies; Section 144 imposed as a one-time measure for PSL matchmaking security.
LAHORE – Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan postponed the party’s election rally scheduled for Sunday after the provincial government imposed Section 144 in the city.
Imran Khan announced in his tweets that the election rally in Lahore would be postponed till Monday saying that the party workers should not fall into the trap of the government. It seems that only PTI is illegally banned from carrying out political activity, while other public activities are taking place in other areas of Lahore. Only Zaman Park is surrounded by containers and a heavy contingent of police”.
Imran Khan claimed that the caretaker prime minister of Punjab and the police wanted to encourage clashes like March 8, adding that such tactics were a conspiracy to stop the elections. “The election schedule has been announced, so how to enforce Article 144,” he asked.
He also said that the PTI already had a plan in case of his arrest. “In case I am arrested we have a plan already which will be shared with the nation when the time is right,” he said in his tweets.
Defending his decision to postpone the rally, Khan said he was alarmed after seeing the turnover of PTI supporters and feared there could be bloodshed if everyone came out. Khan further said that the government will file more false FIRs against PTI leadership and workers to use as an excuse for postponing the elections. He asked all PTI workers not to fall into this trap and postponed the rally till tomorrow. The announcement came hours after the PTI challenged the reinstatement of Section 144 in Lahore by the Punjab government at the Election Commission of Pakistan. Following the re-imposition of section 144 in Lahore within the 4-day period by the Punjab government, the roads leading to Zaman Park were blocked by the administration with containers as well as the use of police officers to prevent PTI from starting a political rally . Earlier, the caretaker government placed more than 30 containers to block the roads leading to Zaman Park. The police officers were armed with tear gas, shells, batons and were seen fully prepared and deployed to stop PTI workers and leaders. Caretaker prime minister Mohsin Naqvi in his tweet has justified the reinstatement of section 144 saying that there was no restriction on doing political activities and that all political parties are allowed to run their political campaigns. “Political activities are restricted for Sunday only because of the PSL match. There was also a marathon race in the city and all the other events were completed beforehand in the city”. The caretaker government of Punjab had also called on the Rangers to deal with any untoward incident. Because of Section 144, Rangers were stationed at Zaman Park and other important places.