Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan on Sunday called off his mega election rally for the second time after the interim Punjab government imposed Section 144, banning public gatherings in the provincial capital.
Khan took to Twitter to inform his supporters about the change in plan and said the rally had been postponed till Monday.
“It seems again Sec 144 has been imposed illegally solely on PTI election campaign as all other public activities are ongoing in Lahore. Only Zaman Park has been surrounded by containers & heavy police contingent. Clearly, like 8 March, Punjab CM & police want to provoke clashes to file more sham FIRs against PTI leadership & workers & to use as pretext for postponing elections.”
Urging his followers to not ‘fall into the trap’, Khan added, “Hence, we have postponed rally till tomorrow”. Notably, Khan first attempted to take out his rally on March 8 in the eastern city of Lahore but the death of a party worker and the heavy-handedness of the authorities meant that he had to cancel the show.
According to local media reports, one PTI worker was killed after police launched a crackdown, following the violation of Section 144 by Khan’s supporters.
“I called off the long march immediately after the police attack on May 25 last year and called off March 8 election rally merely hours after the police resorted to torture and tear-gas shelling on political workers,”
However, after recuperating, Khan, last Saturday announced that he was restarting the rally on Sunday and urged the masses to stand beside him.
“I will lead the election rally to show them that we are not domesticated animals. I have decided that I will fight against the corrupt system and looters of national wealth till the last drop of my blood,” said Khan in a television address.
Ever since being ousted from power last April, Khan has been looking to find his footing. However, his political movements have been cut short by assassination attempts, media censorship and government pressure.
(With inputs from agencies)
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