Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Azadi March began on Wednesday, tensions rose across the country as police made use of tear gas and arrested several PTI marchers headed toward Islamabad.
Khan’s message for PTI supporters
PTI Chairperson Imran Khan called on his supporters to join his freedom march.
In a video message, Khan said, “I will lead the Azadi March caravan from Peshawar, and God willing, we will head to Islamabad from there. I want each and everyone to leave because this is a defining moment.”
Khan waves to supporters from a truck
Imran Khan arrived at the Wali Interchange in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by helicopter.
Khan, later, departed for Islamabad from the Wali Interchange in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
‘Defining moment’ for Pakistan
Imran also urged protesters to carry the Pakistani flag, calling today a “defining moment” for Pakistan.
‘No blockade can stop us’
After reaching Swabi, Khan delivered a speech to supporters. In it, he said that “we are going to D-Chowk and no one can stop us” as the crowd cheered.
Khan said that the PTI government did not bar any of them from staging protests as they “did not fear the people”.
He said that the government was afraid as they had been plundering national wealth for the past 30 years. “I want to give the people a message from Swabi Interchange: whatever you do, we will cross all obstacles and reach D-Chowk. Our protest will be peaceful as it has always been.”
“I want to give the people a message from Swabi Interchange: whatever you do, we will cross all obstacles and reach D-Chowk. Our protest will be peaceful as it has always been.”
“This nation does not accept this imported government,” he declared, calling on the people to come out for what he has described of late as a “jihad” for “true freedom”.
“All Pakistanis, women, children, families, youth, lawyers, retired army officers, everyone has to come out for real independence,” he said.
No agreement has been reached
Following the directions of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the two sides have agreed on PTI holding a jalsa instead of a long march, Geo News reported. Talks between the government and PTI continued for two-and-half hours.
Khan in relevance to the news tweeted, “Absolutely not! We are moving towards Islamabad & no question of any deal. We will remain in Islamabad till announcement of dates for dissolution of assemblies & elections are given.”
Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb also said that no agreement has been reached between the federal government and PTI. She said news of negotiations and an agreement between the government and PTI is “baseless”.
Detention expected of Khan
The government has decided to detain PTI Chairman Imran Khan with the top party leadership on its way to Islamabad from Peshawar today for the Azadi March, reports The News.
Rangers deployed in Islamabad
On Tuesday, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah announced that the federal government will not allow any riots in the name of the PTI long march. Section 144 has been imposed in Lahore, Karachi and the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi and the roads leading up to the capital city from different parts of the country have been blocked. Rangers have been called in by the government to help protect Islamabad’s, Red Zone.
PTI workers clash with police at Lahore’s Batti Chowk
PTI workers marching towards Islamabad from Lahore engaged in a clash with the police at Batti Chowk in Lahore as they tried to remove the barricades on the roads. Policemen stopped PTI supporters from moving forward and used tear gas.
According to PTI’s official Twitter account, the marchers were also stopped at the Shahdara area.
Dr Yasmin Rashid’s car attacked by police
PTI supporters came forward and verbally abused the police officials. Meanwhile, Dr Yasmin Rashid tried stopping the police from taking away her car keys.
Hammad Azhar tried to be arrested
PTI leader Hammad Azhar tweeted, the impediments and containers on Bati Chowk, Ravi Bridge, and Shahdara have been removed and the roads have been cleared by “the public”.
Weapons and ammunition recovered
Meanwhile, police said that they have recovered heavy ammunition and weapons from the residences of PTI leaders Bijash Niazi and Zubair Niazi.
DIG Operations Sohail Chauhdry in a press conference shared that the raids were conducted at Nawan Kot and Multan Road areas from where three persons were arrested. However, Zubair Niazi fled from the scene. Giving details of the arms recovered, the police officer said that six 223 bore guns, 13 rifles, 96 SMG rifles, and 26 magazines of pistols were found.
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