Lahore (Web Desk): The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Wednesday announced to suspend election rally asking party workers to return to their homes "peacefully" after police arrested several people for violating Section 144 in the provincial capital.
The PTI had planned to take out rally from Zaman Park to Data Darbar where former premier Imran Khan was expected to address the public gathering and announce his party's future line of action.
PTI chief Imran Khan Khan slammed the caretaker provincial government for cracking down on party workers
In a video massage after the crackdown on party workers, Imran Khan said: “Stop everything.
We are not taking out the rally that we were supposed to as, I am saddened to say, that all the moves they are making are aimed at running away from elections.
“They are trying to ensure that chaos spreads and that is why I’m saying to my workers to finish it, we will not carry out the rally,” the PTI chief said.
Imran alleged that the government had launched a crackdown on PTI workers not for the sake of law and order but in an effort to avoid conducting elections in the province.
“We cannot give them any excuse to delay the elections,” the former premier said, urging the party workers to return to their homes.
“They picked up and took away our people today as well, around 100 workers, for what reason?” he asked.
Earlier in the day, the Punjab government had imposed Section 144 in Lahore and police also arrested several PTI workers for violating the ban.
According to a notification issued by Punjab Home Department, number of rallies and protests are held therein on daily basis at different places of Lahore, which not only pose serious security threats but also disrupt traffic and cause inconvenience to public at large.
"Hence, in the context of the prevailing overall security situation in the wake of the 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," the notification stated.
Speaking to newsmen, PTI leader Hammad Azhar said that a large number of people will attend today's rally.
"How can you ban public gatherings when elections are taking place on April 30?" asked Azhar.
He said that the rally was supposed to begin in a while but the roads were being blocked now and police was arresting PTI workers.
Hamad alleged that Rana Sanaullah wants bloodshed but the party will not give them a chance to do so. "They have imposed a ban on public gatherings to stop the rally," he added.