Former Pakistani prime minister and chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, Imran Khan, has urged supporters not to back down under any circumstance ahead of a rally at the Minar-i-Pakistan monument in Lahore. Khan has secured interim bail in three terrorism cases at a Lahore Anti-Terrorism Court.
He claims the government is attempting to crush the PTI and has committed atrocities against party members. Prior to the rally, shipping containers were placed at entry and exit routes to the city and reports suggest that students were unable to attend Institute of Chartered Accountant exams due to road blockades.
The PTI rally at Minar-i-Pakistan was organized to mark the party’s sixth public gathering in Lahore. Imran Khan had announced earlier that he would use the platform to present his “vision of Haqeeqi Azadi” (real freedom) to the masses.
The rally was expected to draw a large crowd, with reports suggesting that PTI workers from across the country had gathered in Lahore to attend the event. However, the government’s decision to place shipping containers on various routes leading to the rally venue sparked concerns about the safety of the participants.
The use of shipping containers to block roads is a common tactic employed by the Pakistani government to prevent opposition parties from holding public gatherings. However, the move is often criticized by human rights groups who argue that it is a violation of citizens’ fundamental right to freedom of assembly.
The internet outage in several areas of Lahore also raised concerns about the government’s efforts to stifle dissent and prevent the media from reporting on the event. In recent years, the government has been accused of using various tactics to control the narrative and silence critics, including censorship and intimidation of journalists.
The PTI has been a vocal opponent of the government’s policies and has been calling for widespread reforms to address issues such as corruption, unemployment, and inflation. The party has also been critical of the government’s handling of the economy and its relationship with other countries, particularly India.
The rally at Minar-i-Pakistan was seen as a critical moment for the PTI as it seeks to consolidate its support base ahead of the next general election. The party has been facing criticism from various quarters, including some of its own members, over its performance in government and its failure to deliver on its promises.