PTI Chairman Imran Khan halted the long march at the end of the first day of the anti-government protest.

“I knew Lahore will never disappoint me,” he said, addressing the participants of the march at the Data Darbar, in Bhaati Chowk. “However, we are concluding our Islamabad-bound journey for today.”

Khan announced that the long march would resume its journey towards the federal capital at 11 am from Shahdara, outside Lahore.

The PTI chief reiterated his stance, saying the long march was neither for politics nor was it a regular movement. Instead, it is a “jihad” for real freedom, he stressed. 

He said, “it is better to die than to become a slave of thieves.”

During his speech at Ichhra, the second stop of the PTI long march, Khan reiterated that he would never accept slavery, challenging the authorities concerned to try to stop the tsunami of the people.

“Be prepared to liberate our country,” Khan told thousands of people marching towards the federal capital.

Khan said Pakistan was not made for a “small group of occupiers” to do as it deemed fit and reiterated the need for the supremacy of law in the country.

He regretted that the law was different for the powerful and helpless in the country.

Recounting what the PTI has described as the ill-treatment of politicians and journalists, Imran also said that slain journalist Arshad Sharif knew there were threats to his life even when he was abroad. “Shireen Mazari has the message.”

Khan asserted that his party was marching to Islamabad to demand elections and not because they were seeking “interference”.

He said this while replying to a question by a reporter of a news channel before the start of the march that the tradition of an intervention by a “third force between two sides” existed.

“We don’t want interference, we want elections,” Imran replied, adding that the intervention was sought by those who couldn’t contest elections and did not have the nation’s support — an apparent reference to the incumbent government.

“It is they who want backdoor [talks] and beg America,” he added.

When asked whether the PTI had any plans of staging a sit-in, Imran said “the party has just begun”, implying that it was too early for a sit-in.

PTI chief Imran Khan has said that while he can say a lot, he doesn’t wish any harm to come to the army.

Replying to another question he said: “I want our army to become a strong institution and that no harm comes its way. I want to say a lot and I can say a lot, but I don’t want Pakistan’s enemies to take advantage [of it]. I don’t want that anything I say causes any damage to the army.”

He said that the nation was united and had decided not to accept the “robbers imposed on them through a foreign conspiracy”.

“And they also won’t accept those who help them. People are also going against their facilitators,” he said, adding that it was now clear where the nation was standing.

“And as this march moves towards Islamabad, it will become clear to all where the nation is standing — they want free and fair elections and will not accept these robbers under any circumstances,” he added.

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