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Imran Khan tells PTI workers not to “fall into the trap” of Punjab govt, calls off rally

The Punjab government Saturday night again announced imposing Section 144 (banning of large gatherings) in Lahore to avoid any "untoward incidents".

Imran Khan told PTI workers not to “fall into the trap” of the Punjab govt, in a surprise move called off Sunday’s rally.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairperson Imran Khan on Sunday postponed his election rally in Lahore after the interim government refused to take back the Section 144 imposed in the provincial capital. 

In a series of tweets on Sunday afternoon, Imran Khan said, “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 on 8 March, Punjab CM & police want to provoke clashes to file more sham FIRs against PTI leadership & workers & to use as a pretext for postponing elections. Elec Schedule has been announced so how can Sec 144 be imposed on pol activity? I AM TELLING ALL PTI WORKERS NOT TO FALL INTO THIS TRAP. Hence we have postponed the rally till tomorrow,” he added.


The move from PTI came after it challenged Section 144 imposed by the Punjab government in Lahore in the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). 

PTI leader Babar Awan filed the plea in the ECP on the instructions of party Chairman Imran Khan. 

“The ECP should dispose of the implementation of Section 144 as it is illegal,” said the petition. 

It said that by imposing Section 144, the Punjab government is violating Para 15 of the Supreme Court’s order. The petition also stated that the routes of the rally and the Pakistan Super League (PSL) match are different. 

“The PTI’s rally will conclude at 5:30pm while the PSL will begin at 7pm,” it said, adding that Section 144 has never been imposed in any city amid PSL matches.

The election campaign is PTI’s constitutional right and the provincial government is stopping the campaign illegally, said the petition. 

Awan, while speaking to the media persons later, reiterated that the timings and routes of the match and rally are different.

“Imposing Section 144 on the entire city is not justifiable and the interim government decided to put a ban using PSL as an excuse,” he said.

He added that Khan wants to stage a rally as it is the party’s constitutional right.

PTI leader Yasmin Rashid also submitted a request against the provincial government’s decision to ban rallies in ECP’s office in Lahore.

On Saturday night, the Punjab government once again announced imposing Section 144 (banning of large gatherings) in Lahore to avoid any “untoward incidents”.

This is the second time in less than a week that the caretaker Punjab government has imposed the restriction ahead of the election rally of the party which has severely criticised the caretaker set-up for being “partial”.

A day earlier, the former prime minister Imran Khan said he would lead the rally himself.

“I will lead the election rally to show them that we are not domesticated animals,” the PTI chief told his party workers during his address via video link.

Saman Siddiqui

Saman Siddiqui, A freelance journalist with a Master’s Degree in Mass Communication and MS in Peace and Conflict Studies. Associated with the media industry since 2006. Experience in various capacities including Program Host, Researcher, News Producer, Documentary Making, Voice Over, Content Writing Copy Editing, and Blogging, and currently associated with OyeYeah since 2018, working as an Editor.

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