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LAHORE: To push for early elections, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is all set to launch its ‘jail bharo’ (volunteer arrest) movement from today from the provincial capital; 200 party workers and around five PTI legislators and leaders would voluntarily give their arrest to the authorities outside the Punjab Assembly.

On February 17, PTI Chairman Imran Khan had announced to start the movement to protest against the violations of Constitution and press the coalition government to hold elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

On Wednesday, the PTI leaders and workers were instructed to gather at Faisal Chowk in the afternoon and the PTI volunteers would give their arrests. Among the PTI leaders, former Punjab Governor Omar Sarfraz Cheema, Waleed Iqbal, former Punjab Education Minister Dr Murad Raas, Fawad Bullar and Muhammad Khan Madni were expected to give their arrests. However, if the authorities do not arrest the PTI activists, they would stage a sit-in.

PTI Senator Ejaz Chaudhry had already given assurance to the media that the movement would remain peaceful and they would not resort to any kind of violence.

After Lahore, the movement would lead to other major cities; as per the schedule, the PTI activists would give arrests in Peshawar on February 23, in Rawalpindi on February 24, in Multan on February 25, in Gujranwala on February 26, in Sargodha on February 27, in Sahiwal on February 28 and in Faisalabad on February 29. After this, a new schedule would be given for the movement.

Moreover, for the well-being of the arrested workers, PTI Lahore President Sheikh Imtiaz Mehmood constituted two committees, the ‘jail bharo’ committee and ‘jail bharo legal committee’, which would be headed by PTI leaders Shabbir Siyal and Waqar Mushtaq Toor, respectively. The ‘jail bharo’ committee comprising 16 members would be responsible to ensure arrangements and the well-being of detained workers whiles the ‘jail bharo’ legal committee; comprising 21 lawyers have been given the task of giving legal facilities.

While talking to the media outside the residence of former premier, PTI Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry said that the movement would commence on Wednesday and the PTI political activists would give their arrests to the authorities at Faisal Chowk. “The movement was being launched to protest against violations of the fundamental rights, abuse of the Constitution, inflation and economic meltdown caused by the incumbent government,” he added.

Fawad Chaudhry further said that during a meeting of senior party leaders, it was decided that all party leaders were willing to take part in the ‘jail bharo’ movement; “in the meeting, PTI senior leaders Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Asad Umar volunteered to give their arrests on the first day of the movement, but the meeting insisted that we should stick to the programme that was already decided.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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