The Lahore leg of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s public power show is underway at Minar-i-Pakistan, where party chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan is expected to address his supporters at around 10pm.
Prior to Khan’s speech, Ali Muhammad Khan, Hammad Azhar, Mian Aslam, Murad Saeed, Babar Awan, Zartaj Gul, Yasmin Rashid, Fawad Chaudhry, Qasim Khan Suri, Farrukh Habib, Ejaz Chaudhry, Usman Dar, Asad Umar and Shafqat Mahmood also addressed the rally.
The rally was also attended by PTI supporters from the music industry such as Salman Ahmed, Bilal Khan and Abrarul Haq, with the latter two also singing songs.
PTI accuses govt of blocking routes, disrupting Internet
Earlier, party leaders Shireen Mazari and Faisal Javed accused the government of blocking routes leading to Minar-i-Pakistan in an attempt to impede the rally.
“First blocking all the roads leading to Minar-i-Pakistan, and now shutting off internet service!” Mazari tweeted.
” … imported govt & desperate crime minister (Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif) think they can stop the nation from rising against this criminal mafia of an imported govt!”
PTI Senator Faisal Javed, while addressing the rally, said reports were being received that routes were being blocked to stop people from reaching the rally site. He called on the administration to unblock routes and warned them not to obstruct the public.
“Don’t stop them otherwise the people will themselves reach here and remove all obstacles. Remove all obstacles before people do so themselves.”
Internet services have also been reportedly disrupted in the vicinity of the rally site.
The preparations for the rally began in earnest on Wednesday as PTI leaders brought out rallies from different parts of the city in the run-up to the demonstration.
Former Punjab health minister and senior PTI leader Dr Yasmin Rashid, while speaking to Dawn, had said the PTI’s main slogan for the ‘historic gathering’ would be that the nation would not allow any foreign power to dictate its policies in Pakistan
She had said a huge stage had been set up at the Minar-i-Pakistan ground and Imran would address the historic gathering that would touch the magic number of one million.
PTI Punjab information secretary Mussarat Jamshed Cheema said the stage had been made ready and there were segregated female and families’ enclosures.
PTI leaders and people had thronged the venue of the public meeting on Wednesday night for a ‘full dress rehearsal’ for the main show.
Meanwhile, the Lahore deputy commissioner had written a letter to PTI’s Punjab and Lahore leaders, stating that severe threat alerts had been received from security agencies, and suggested that Imran address the public gathering virtually instead of making a physical appearance at Greater Iqbal Park.
The PTI chairman himself responded at a Twitter space that he would physically attend the ‘Lahore jalsa’ and address the nation. He also said a record crowd would attend the gathering.
A surprise move is also expected from the party in today’s power show.