The Punjab caretaker government has imposed Section 144 in Lahore once again to ‘halt the public rally’ of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which was scheduled to be led by party chairman Imran Khan at 2pm on Sunday (today).
It is pertinent to mention here that this is the second time in a week that the Punjab caretaker government has imposed Section 144 in the provincial capital, a move that is being harshly criticized by the PTI chairman, leaders, and workers.
The announcement of restrictions emerged after PTI Chairman Imran Khan said he would lead the public rally himself ahead of elections in the Punjab Assembly.
Former premier Imran Khan, who was removed from office in April of last year, addressed his party members via video link and announced, “I will lead the election rally to show them that we are not domesticated animals,” while criticizing the caretaker regime for allegedly being involved in the “murder” of party member Ali Bilal.
Meanwhile, PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi stated that the installation of Section 144 is “baseless,” noting that the candidates running in the Punjab elections will submit their nomination papers today.
While addressing a press conference, he said that enforcement of Section 144 was not appropriate given that the PTI was starting its election campaign.
He asserted that the “government wants confrontation” and that PTI would challenge the move in the Lahore High Court (LHC) and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
He further said that PTI leader Babar Awan will meet chief election commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja in the morning and inform him that the ban had been imposed on “baseless” grounds.
PTI senior leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi urged the party workers to reach Zaman Park — Imran Khan’s residence in Lahore— before 2pm and that Khan would lead the rally himself.