Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has announced that he will lead his party’s rally in Lahore on Sunday as part of his election campaign for the upcoming general elections in Pakistan. The rally is expected to be a huge show of strength by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, which is facing a tough challenge from the opposition parties.
Khan also slammed the authorities for “killing” his party worker, who was allegedly shot dead by police during a protest in Karachi on Friday. He said that he will not let the “murderers” go unpunished and demanded an independent inquiry into the incident. He also accused the government of rigging the elections and trying to stop PTI from winning.
However, there is also news or viral videos that the party worker was killed during a verbal brawl between the party workers and Imran Khan using it as a political stunt to get fame.
The Sunday rally in Lahore will be held at 2 pm (local time) at Minar-e-Pakistan, a historical monument that symbolizes Pakistan’s independence movement. Khan said that he will address the people of Lahore and share his vision for a “new Pakistan”. He urged his supporters to join him in large numbers and show their support for PTI.
The rally comes amid high political tensions in Pakistan, where general elections are being scheduled. However, PTI has faced criticism from its rivals and some allies over its handling of various issues such as inflation, corruption, foreign policy and security.
The opposition parties have formed an alliance called Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), which includes former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), former president Asif Ali Zardari’s Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and several other smaller parties.
Recently, the caretaker Punjab government has imposed section 144 in Lahore for seven days, starting from March 8, 2023. The decision was taken in view of the security situation and terrorism threat in the city, as well as the upcoming general elections scheduled for March 18.
The ban affects all kinds of assemblies, gatherings, sit-ins, rallies, processions, demonstrations, protests and other similar activities across the city. The notification issued by the additional chief secretary home stated that it was necessary to impose section 144 to avert any untoward incident.
Section 144 is a legal provision that empowers the government to ban public gatherings and impose restrictions on movement in a certain area. It is usually invoked to maintain law and order and prevent violence or unrest.
However, the imposition of section 144 has also sparked controversy and criticism from some political parties and civil society groups. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), led by Imran Khan, had planned to hold a public rally on Sunday at Minar-e-Pakistan as part of its election campaign. The PTI claimed that it had obtained permission from the district administration for its rally and accused the caretaker government of trying to sabotage its democratic right.