Defying orders, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan has decided to take out another political rally in the eastern city of Lahore, a couple of days after the death of a party worker forced him to stop the rally.
“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 and urged the masses to stand beside him in the rally.
While Khan plans to organise the mega rally, the interim government in Punjab has imposed Section 144, banning public gatherings. 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.
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The PTI, however, said that the deceased worker Ali Bilal died of police torture, a claim the authorities dispute.
Water cannons and tear gas canisters were fired as the police arrested more than 40 PTI workers for defying the public gathering ban.
“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,” added Khan in his speech.
The cricketer-turned-politician also reminded the judiciary to step in to stop the country from becoming a ‘banana republic’.
“I know that ‘unidentified people’ have become active and exerting pressure as well as creating hurdles in the dispensation of rule of law but the judiciary is supposed to play its crucial role to save the nation and the country from complete disaster.”
Imran Khan has been one of the most vocal opposition voices in the country at the moment. Ever since losing his PM chair to Shehbaz Sharif last year, he has opened a front against not only the government but also the military institutions.
However, the Shehbaz Sharif government, already feeling the pressure for trying to resurrect a stalling economy has upped the ante against Khan.
Earlier this week, media regulator Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) banned television channels from carrying any snippets of Khan’s speeches.
(With inputs from agencies)
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