- Imran Khan claims the party worker killed while in police custody
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf said on Wednesday that one of its workers was killed in the police crackdown against the party workers in Lahore, Aaj News reported.
In a Twitter post, PTI chief Imran Khan claimed that the party worker, identified as Ali Bilal, "was killed while in police custody."
"I want all our district presidents and office bearers across Pakistan to hold ghaibana namaz i janaza for our martyred worker Ali Bilal tomorrow," Imran tweeted.
The PTI called off a rally scheduled to kickstart its campaigning for Punjab elections amid the imposition of Section 144 in Lahore and the arrest of PTI workers by police.
The party also told its workers to return to their homes in a peaceful manner.
PTI leader Hammad Azhar earlier announced that party workers would remain in their constitutional and legal limits even if police resorted to violence.
The Home Department of the Government of Punjab on Wednesday imposed Section 144 in Lahore, banning public gatherings, ahead of PTI's rally, reported Aaj News.
In a notification, the Home Department said “it has been observed that number of rallies and protests are held therein on daily basis at different places of District Lahore, which not only pose serious security threats but also disrupt traffic and cause inconvenience to public at large.”
There is also a history of terrorist activities in the rallies/ protests, wherein, a number of police officials and civilians embraced shahadat, it added.
“Hence, in the context of prevailing overall security situation in the wake of recent wave of terrorism and latest threat alerts, it has been necessary to impose section 144 of Cr.P.C, 1898 on holding of all kinds of assemblies, gatherings, sits-in, rallies, processions, demonstrations, jalsas, dharnas, protests and such like other activities across the district Lahore to avert any untoward incident.”
“This order shall come into force with immediate effect and remain in force for 7 days. In view of the facts stated above, it is essential to ensure security of the people and installations / buildings against any potential terrorist or untoward activity, in the larger interest of public safety, security, peace and tranquility.”
PTI had planned to kickstart its election campaign through a rally on Wednesday from Zaman Park to Data Darbar where party chief Imran Khan was expected to attend in person.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Punjab Home Department asked PTI leaders in Lahore to take “extra precaution” in view of party’s rally in Lahore, saying such public gatherings in the face of security threats are “not advisable”.
Caretaker govt assaulting rule of law: Imran Khan
In a tweet, Imran said "five-member bench of Supreme Court ordered elections in Punjab and KP in 90 days, asking president to announce date which he does - 30 April."
"With hardly 55 days left, PTI kicks off election rally in Lahore. Under what law, and in brazen contempt of SC, Punjab Caretaker govt uses massive police violence against unarmed workers to stop our planned rally?"
"The only job of caretakers is to ensure fair & free elections. What they are doing is an assault on rule of law, our Constitution & democracy. Above all, once SC ruling is defied, it is now law of the jungle."
Ban on political gatherings is weapon of govt: Fawad
Taking to Twitter, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry stated that the ban on political gatherings in Punjab is the new weapon of the fascist government.
“The imperialist forces have always been afraid of the people. The people of Pakistan have always fought for their rights,” he said.
Meanwhile, PTI has completed the preparation of its rally, according to its official Twitter handle.
Following the Punjab government's order, the police sealed roads near Zaman Park and arrested a few PTI workers. It also stopped female participants through water cannons and tear gas shelling.
According to police, PTI workers have been arrested from Zaman Park and Canal Road.
On the other hand, Imran summoned party leaders for an urgent meeting.
'Government using police for its agenda'
Speaking to Aaj News, Fawad said that the arrests are illegal as people are being taken into custody without notices.
“Government is hiding behind closed doors and using police for its agenda but the public will stand for the country, constitution and true freedom.”
This government cannot escape public’s determination, he said.
Speaking about PTI's election campaign, he stated that it will move as per schedule.
PTI workers will remain in legal, constitutional limits
Speaking to media, PTI leader Hammad Azhar stated that party workers will remain in their constitutional and legal limits even if police resorts to violence.
“Our legal team is searching a way out of this order and Imran will make an announcement shortly,” he said. “Arrests before elections cannot stop the movement. They are afraid of Imran Khan.”
PEMRA bans coverage of protest on Mall Road
The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) banned the coverage of the protest taking place on Mall Road.
"No Television Channel will make any coverage of the protest(s) being conducted on the Mall Road Red Zone and also notify all the Channels in accordance with Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Act, 2007 and Electronic Media Code of Conduct, 2015," it said in a statement.
It has been observed with grave concern that some of the satellite TV channels are indulged in non-stop coverage of public gathering and rallies and while covering those gathering and rallies slanderous and malicious content targeting state institutions is aired.
"Telecast of such content is not in consonance with PEMRA Electronic Media (Programmes and Advertisements) Code of Conduct 2015 and is also in violation of the Hon'ble Lahore High Court, Lahore following order in the matter of Writ Petition titled "Mian Ali Asghar Vs. Government of the Punjab and others" (2020 CLC 157)," it said.