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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) workers continued thronging Banigala residence of their party chairman Imran Khan amid reports of his possible arrest, as party leaders warned of a strong countrywide protest if the “redline” of his arrest was crossed.

Scores of party workers reached Banigala on the call given by the party leaders following reports that Imran Khan might be arrested later on Sunday night. Many of the supporters stayed overnight outside the residence of the former prime minister.

Senior party leaders, including vice chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi, secretary-general Asad Umar, Fawad Chaudhry, Asad Qaiser, Pervez Khattak, Murad Saeed, Omar Ayub, Faisal Javed, and others also reached Bani Gala.

However, it was not clear whether the PTI chairman was present at his residence or not, as he did not appear in public until the Islamabad High Court (IHC) granted him pre-arrest bail until August 25 followed by the release of a photograph of Imran Khan meeting with Chief Minister Punjab Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and his son Moonis Elahi at Bani Gala.

The photograph was released by the PTI’s official Twitter handle amid unverified reports, challenging PTI leaders’ repeated claims of Khan’s presence in Bani Gala and claiming that the former premier reached his residence allegedly via a back door soon after the IHC granted him the pre-arrest bail.

The charged PTI workers also stopped the Islamabad capital police officials, including the chief protocol officer Tahir Hussain from providing security, which the government has provided to the former premier at his Bani Gala residence.

Talking to media persons, chief protocol officer Tahir Hussain said that he along with his personnel was stopped from entering Imran Khan’s residence. “We are here deputed on his security, but the (PTI) workers stopped us from going inside (Khan’s residence). They are saying that they have been told (by the leadership]) to prevent us from entering Bani Gala,” the chief protocol officer said.

However, talking to reporters, Senator Faisal Javed urged party workers to reach Bani Gala and to join those and boost the morale of the party workers who were already present since Sunday night. He strongly criticized the incumbent government for booking the party chairman under terrorism charges, adding these tactics would not stop the PTI from its destination of giving a “true freedom” to the country.

He maintained that the struggle for the “true freedom” has entered its decisive phase, adding that Imran Khan would never bow before anyone but Allah, the Almighty.

He added that the actions of the incumbent coalition government suggested that the “imported government was frightened”.

PTI’s Farrukh Habib also reached Bani Gala along with a convoy of party supporters from Faisalabad.

Earlier, late Sunday night, Fawad Chaudhry, through a tweet, asked the party workers to reach Imran’s Bani Gala residence. He said that dozens of Imran Khan’s supporters were already present at Bani Gala and thousands more workers will also reach in a few hours.

Before leaving for addressing a seminar, Imran Khan climbed half his residence’s gate and waved to his supporters standing outside. Khan left his residence in a convoy of his supporters for the local hotel where he was scheduled to address a seminar, organised by his party.

The charged PTI workers also misbehaved with media persons, including a cameraman of Aaj News outside Khan’s Bani Gala residence.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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