Imran Khan said on Wednesday that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) protest would be peaceful and no hurdle would stop him from reaching D-Chowk.
Addressing party workers at Swabi Interchange from a container, he said that the nation wanted real freedom but the slaves were trying to keep them under US subjugation.
He said the former rulers had been plundering Pakistan’s wealth and laundered it.
PTI chief reached Wali Interchange from Peshawar by a helicopter and led the marchers towards Islamabad standing atop a container. Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Parvez Khattak, Shahbaz Gil and others were riding the container.
DR Yasim detained: Meanwhile, Lahore police freed former Punjab health minister Dr Yasmin Rashid and Andaleeb Abbas after a detaining them briefly.
Earlier, Dr Yasmin was stopped by local law enforcement. News channels showed that the police tried to snatch keys of her car. A video of the incident shared on social media showed a purported PTI supporter resisting the arrest of the former minister.
Later, Dr Yasmin in a statement, said that the windshield of her vehicle was broken by police. She said that she faced difficulty in leaving the area, but is now on her way to Islamabad.
“This government has lost its senses. I am an 80-year-old woman. Why are they threatened of me? How is stopping a peaceful protest democratic?”
Earlier, Lahore police and workers of the PTI clashed as the latter managed to push their way through the containers deployed at Batti Chowk by the government to stop the protesters from reaching Islamabad.
Law enforcers resorted to tear gas after PTI supporters tried to remove the containers placed on the routes exiting Lahore. PTI leaders Yasmin Rashid, Hammad Azhar, and Shafqat Mehmood were leading the workers. The party supporters hurled stones at the police.
At least 12 workers of the PTI were taken into custody by the police after the clashes.
PTI lawyers and workers had scuffles with police outside Aiwan-e-Adal and Post Master General office.
According to PTI’s official Twitter account, the marchers were also stopped at Shahdara. At the Niazi Chowk, PTI workers removed impediments and marched forward.
Meanwhile, another PTI caravan led by Hammad Azhar managed to get across the obstacles and crossed Lahore. He is now reportedly on the GT Road on his way to Islamabad.
From Lahore, Azhar said, the containers on Bati Chowk, Ravi Bridge and Shahdara have been removed and the roads have been cleared by “the public”.
A faceoff was reported between PTI supporters and the police in Gujranwala when the latter tried to stop them with barricades near Khanki Headworks. However, the marchers forced their way through the obstructions and moved ahead.
The caravan, led by Chaudhry Ahmed Chattha, is now on way to Islamabad.
According to PTI’s Gujranwala General Secretary, Tariq Gujjar, 150 people from the caravan have been taken into custody.
All eyes are on Islamabad as the city braces itself for heated political activity with the PTI workers and leaders heading towards the federal capital from various parts of the country despite the government’s instructions no to do so.
The Islamabad administration has clamped Section 144 in the capital and strictly implementing the law. It is reported that more than 100 PTI workers have been arrested.
The local authorities have barricaded all entry points into Islamabad with containers to obstruct the way of PTI marchers.
The barricades have been placed for two primary tasks: first to contain the long march and second to ensure fool-proof security of the Red Zone. All the roads leading to Red Zone have been sealed, except Margalla Road. Containers have also been placed at D-Chowk to seal the area around the Old Parade Ground and Parliamentary Lodges.
Thousands of policemen, including the Anti-Riot Unit, Counter-Terrorism Force, Anti-Terrorism Force, and police reserve along with contingents from Rangers are being deployed to maintain the law and order situation in the city.
GT Road, Motorway blocked
Meanwhile, barriers have been erected at several points on the Grand Trunk (GT) Road and Peshawar-Islamabad Motorway as well. The authorities have blocked all the land routes between Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab by putting huge piles of mud, containers, ballast stones, cement blocks and iron barriers and fences at many places.
Heavy contingents of the personnel of stick-wielding police force and Rangers have also been deputed at GT Road and Peshawar-Islamabad Motorway to stop the way of PTI workers towards Islamabad.
Roads blocked in Karachi
Meanwhile, in Karachi, a sit-in is expected at Numaish Chowrangi. According to traffic police, MA Jinnah road and its adjoining areas have been blocked. Amid roads that have been blocked include:
The road leading toward People’s Chowrangi from Numaish Chowarnagi
Corridor 3 New Preedy Street from Saddar Dawakhana road leading towards People Chowrangi
Nizami Road (heading from Lines areas to Numaish Chowarngi ) has also been blocked
Govt plans to detain Imran
The government is reportedly planning to detain PTI Chairman Imran Khan and his associates on their way from Peshawar.
A top security official said that the action would be taken in a bid to stop what Imran Khan is saying will be the “biggest procession” in Pakistan’s history.
On Tuesday, the government decided to use all its force to foil PTI’s “Azadi March,” with the police continuing its crackdown against PTI workers and officials. 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.