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Now or never: PTI to go ahead with its Azadi March while govt vows to foil it

A do or die like situation has developed in the govt and the PTI ranks about the azadi march

Px14-080 ISLAMABAD: Aug14 - A view of the containers on Islamabad Highway near Faizabad. ONLINE PHOTO by Muhammad Asim

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: PTI Chairman Imran Khan vowed to continue his party’s azadi march while the government has paced up crackdown to foil the march.

White police teams continued to raid the residences of PTI leaders and activists in Islamabad, Lahore and other cities, Islamabad administration has sealed the entire city to keep azadi march participants away from the capital city.

In a bid to stop the long march of the ousted Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), police launched a crackdown on the former ruling party and raided the houses of almost all party leaders forcing them to go into hiding.

In raids conducted across Pakistan, especially Punjab, the police arrested at least 150 PTI members who will be sent to jail under MPO 16 to foil the much-hyped march announced by Imran Khan.

A list of 350 PTI supporters has been prepared that has been forwarded to relevant police stations by the CCPO office and respective DSPs for crackdown,.

Police have raided the houses of PTI Punjab leaders Raja Basharat Khan Jazi, Wasiq Qayyum, Chaudhry Amjad, Chaudhry Adnan, and Rashid Hafiz. However, they were not able to arrest any of the leaders.

The police officials also conducted raids on the residences of Babar Awan, Hammad Azhar, Firdous Ashiq Awan, Ali Naveed Bhatti, Jamshed Iqbal Cheema, Malik Nadeem Abbas, Yasir Gillani, Mian Aslam Iqbal, Saadia Sohail, Ijaz Chaudhry, Akram Usman, Aqil Siddiqui, Amir Riaz, Mohammad Haider.

The house of a former advisor to Punjab governor Salman Shoaib was also raided. Shoaib, in a video message, said the police violated the sanctity of the household as he vowed to avenge the raid and threatened to “drag CM Hamza Shehbaz” in Lahore.

Meanwhile, PTI Chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan said that the party’s Azadi March, starting on Wednesday (May 25) will be a test for the judiciary, police, as well as the “neutrals”.

Addressing the youth in Peshawar, the PTI chairman said: “Our attack force is responsible to remove all the roadblocks during the Azadi March.”

He expressed the hope that the country’s youth will have a sense of responsibility, adding that the PTI was carrying out a peaceful protest.

The former premier said that his party, for the last 26 years, has always staged its protests while keeping the law and Constitution of Pakistan in mind.

Moreover, PML-N vice-president Maryam Nawaz said that PTI’s march was against the establishment and not the government. She said that Imran Khan should come out of Peshawar and dare to enter Islamabad.

Earlier, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said the government has decided not to allow PTI’s long-march to enter Islamabad. He said the government would foil the march which was ‘fitna and fassaad’ to create anarchy in the country.

Who will prevail in the azadi march, it will be clear on May 25 when the government and police face the PTI long-march participants at the entry point from the Peshawar side. Main entry points of important roads had already been sealed with containers to prevent PTI leaders and activists to penetrate into the capital city.

Javed Mahmood
Written By

I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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