Imran Khan says establishment won’t let him return to power
Thousands of PTI workers gathered at the Minar-e-Pakistan in Lahore for a power show, which Imran Khan had claimed would be historic. Earlier in the day, the provincial government closed several roads leading to the venue using shipping containers.
Internet service were also suspended in parts of Lahore, Aaj News reported.
The event began shortly after 9pm as announced by the party. Imran Khan left his Zaman Park residence for Minar-e-Pakistan at around 10:15pm. Once at the venue, he went to his bulletproof container and sat behind a bulletproof glass.
Former Prime Minister Imran Khan addressed the workers from the bulletproof container.
Other leaders, including Sheikh Rasheed, spoke from the rostrum set up at a lower deck.
Khan said the establishment was against him but didn’t have a plan for the country’s economic revival. “I want to ask a question to the establishment of Pakistan: it’s clear that there’s a cross on me, you won’t let come me into power.. but do you even have a plan to save Pakistan?”
Khan spoke shortly after midnight and said that the government had arrested at least 2,000 PTI supporters to stop them from attending the Lahore gathering.
He said there was no rule of law in the county and instead the law of jungle prevailed. At least 143 cases had been registered against him, Khan said.
In the interior Sindh people feel helpless before a ‘Zardari system’, said Khan.
The former prime minister reiterated his clams that his government had been removed by conspiracy.
Sheikh Rasheed said the government had postponed Punjab election until October because by then Alvi won’t be in the president’s house and Justice Bandial will no longer be the chief justice.
PTI social media teams have declared the rally a success while PMLN claimed it was a flop show.
Punjab’s interim Information Minister Mian Amir insisted that containers were placed on a few places to ensure security in the city amid terror threats and that no one was stopped from going to Minar-ePakistan.
PTI leaders, including Shah Mahmood Qureshi, said the government also tried to stop supporters in other cities from leaving for Lahore.
A 120-feet wide and 19-feet long stage was prepared at the venue. Due to rain, the workers were seen trying to clear standing water from the ground.
Authorities blocked various roads, including entry and exit points to Lahore, in the Punjab capital to thwart the PTI’s public gathering.
Tokhar Niaz Baig Road, Raiwind Road, Bhutta Chowk, GPO Chowk, Daroghawala Road, Ferozepur Road and other roads were blocked by the evening.
Police detained trucks loaded with shipping containers and parked them in the middle of the roads to suspend traffic flow.
Containers were placed on both sides of Shalom Market Chowk and Bansanwala Bazar Chowk. Meanwhile, all roads from the railway station to Minar-e-Pakistan were also closed with containers, while the entry and exit points of Lahore were also closed with containers.
‘It will break all records’
Despite hurdles, former prime minister Imran Khan was optimistic about his successful power show.
He wrote: “Tonight will be our 6th jalsa at Minar-e-Pakistan and my heart tells me it will break all records. I am inviting everyone in Lahore to attend after Tarawih prayers. I will give my vision of Haqeeqi Azadi and how we will pull Pakistan out of the mess cabal of crooks have put our country in.”
The PTI chief went on to add that they will put all sorts of hurdles to prevent people from attending. “I want to remind our people that it is their fundamental right to attend a political gathering. Everyone must assert their right as people of a free nation that won its independence and come to Minar-e-Pakistan.”
PTI leaders review preparations
Senior PTI leaders Hammad Azhar, Azam Khan Swati and Zulfi Bukhari reached Minar-e-Pakistan late at night to review the preparations.
Hammad Azhar said that the PTI’s rally on Saturday will be the biggest public meeting in the history of Pakistan, which will start after Tarawih prayers. “This meeting will break the record of all past PTI rallies.”
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