Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has announced that it will shut down 18 points of the Punjab’s provincial capital Lahore as part of its strike scheduled for Monday.
Announcing its plan for Lahore’s strike, PTI leader Aleem Khan said traffic will be blocked on all major thoroughfare including Liberty, Chairnake Cross and Motorway from 7 AM in the morning. Meanwhile, PTI Chief Imran Khan has said that peaceful protest, similar to the one in Karachi, will be staged in Lahore. Admitting that media persons were misbehaved in Karachi, the PTI Chief ordered his workers to desist from repeating it in Lahore.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf’s (PTI’s) ongoing circus of protests and sit-ins rolled into Karachi on Friday amidst fears of violence a la Faisalabad and the reservations of traders and citizens about the disruption of normal life as a result. Fortunately, the fear of violence appeared misplaced as the day passed without any major incident. However, citizens’ lives and business were profoundly disturbed by the blockage of many points on the main roads leading to Shahrah-e-Faisal, the main route of Imran Khan’s caravan from the airport. While these central districts of the city were shut down, the rest of the city appeared to get on with life without too much of a ripple. Perhaps the biggest two factors in this peaceful outcome were that the PPP Sindh government not only did not try to stop the protests and sit-ins, it positively facilitated them, while the biggest and strongest party in the city, the MQM, made no attempt to intervene despite the fact that the PTI emerged in the 2013 elections as the first real challenge to the MQM’s iron grip on Karachi. MQM chief Altaf Hussain had set the tone on the eve of the protest by stating that the PTI had the right to stage peaceful protests. Imran Khan made his usual case regarding the need for a judicial commission to inquire into alleged rigging in the 2013 election, which he believes stole his mandate. Not only has he reversed himself on some of the more unsavoury remarks he has been making against the judiciary, a trend that, according now to Information Minister Pervaiz Rasheed, may well have been responsible for the Supreme Court’s seeming reluctance to respond to the prime minister’s letter of August 13 requesting the apex court to set up the judicial commission desired by Imran Khan, the PTI leader is now expressing his unequivocal confidence in the Supreme Court.
Punjab Government has taken fool proof security measures to maintain law and order on the occasion of PTI’s shutdown call in Lahore. This was stated by the spokesman of Punjab Government Syed Zaeem Hussain Qadri Lahore Sunday. He said announcement of boycott of this strike by traders, transports and other bodies is a welcome sign. Federal Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique has said that all PML-N leaders and workers have been directed to stay away from roads during PTI’s protest. Commenting on PTI’s strike call, he said all PML-N leaders and activists have been directed to stay away from roads. President of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Punjab, Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo has welcomed the decision of the Punjab government to give free hand to the PTI in Lahore during their shut down protest. Prior to the protest of PTI in Lahore, PTI and PML N which is the party forming government and leaders of both the parties expressed that talks were headed in a pleasant manner. Although the outcome of the talks was not declared in purpose, leaders were of the view there is just one purpose to do so to not take pressure from media etc.