PTI all set to kick-start ‘Jail Bharo’ drive today | The Express Tribune


Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) stalwarts Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Asad Umar have volunteered to court arrest in Lahore on Wednesday (today) to formally kick-start the party’s “Jail Bharo Tehreek” from the country’s political heartland.

The ‘court arrest’ drive is being launched in protest over “violations of the fundamental rights”, “abuse of the Constitution”, “unprecedented inflation” and “economic meltdown”.

Speaking to the media outside PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s residence in the provincial capital, party’s senior vice president Fawad Chaudhry announced that the “historic movement” would commence from Lahore.

Both senior party leaders and activists will court arrests to the authorities at Faisal Chowk on the Mall Road, he said.

Fawad maintained that during a meeting, the PTI leadership had decided that all senior party leaders and workers would court arrest to the authorities.

Senior party leaders Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Asad Umar have volunteered to court arrests on the first day of the movement, he added.

However, the participants of the meeting insisted that the party should stick to the programme that had already been decided.

Meanwhile, party sources indicated that PTI leaders, former Punjab governor Omar Sarfraz Cheema, Waleed Iqbal and former Punjab education minister Dr Murad Raas would present themselves for arrest on the first day of the movement.

On the other hand, the caretaker provincial government has already imposed Section 144 for a week in three areas of the provincial capital, including the Mall Road.

As per an official notification issued by the additional chief secretary last Monday, the government had outlawed all gatherings, protests and processions from Mian Mir Bridge to Istanbul Chowk on Mall Road, including its immediate vicinity, the Civil Secretariat and its adjoining roads and Main Boulevard Gulberg.

The notification stated that Section 144 prohibited all kinds of assemblies, gatherings, rallies, processions, demonstrations, protests, and other similar activities in these areas.

It added that rallies and protests posed significant security risks as Mall Road and main boulevard Gulberg Lahore were historically significant and contained business centres as well as highly sensitive historical installations.

“Moreover, Pakistan Super League would shift in Lahore from February 26, where a large number of spectators are likely to visit Qaddafi Stadium, via Main Boulevard Gulberg. Hence, the government imposes Section 144 in Lahore,” the notification said.

PTI Central Punjab President Dr Yasmin Rashid also chaired a meeting to review arrangements for the drive.

The meeting was attended by the PTI leader Andleeb Abbas, PTI Lahore president and other provincial and local party leaders.

It finalised the arrangements for the movement and decided that a ceremony would be held at the party office in honour of the party leaders and workers courting arrests.

Addressing the meeting, Dr Yasmin said that the movement would remain peaceful.

“In the past, the PTI always held peaceful protests and remained within the constitutional limits,” she said, adding that staging a protest was their fundamental right of which they could not be deprived.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said that the PTI’s movement was aimed at creating political instability and law and order situation in the country.

Chairing a meeting to review the law and order situation, the minister noted that the former ruling party wanted to seek media attention by “creating a drama” through the drive.

The miscreants should be exposed by presenting evidence of their wrongdoings before the people, he said.

The meeting which was attended by Interior Secretary Yusuf Naseem, home secretaries and inspectors general of Punjab, Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and others gave a detailed briefing to the minister on the law and order, especially in the wake of Jail Bharo Tehreek.

The meeting decided that miscreants would be arrested and law and order would be maintained “at all costs”.

It was agreed that the arrest of women and poor workers would be avoided.

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