Former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party has announced a “historic” rally here to formally launch the election campaign from Wednesday for the upcoming provincial elections in Punjab, media reports said.
Party chief Khan will lead the rally riding a bomb, and bulletproof vehicle, PTI leader Hammad Azhar said during a press conference on Monday, underlining a threat to the former Prime Minister’s life, the Dawn newspaper reported on Monday.
Starting from the cricketer-turned-politician’s Zaman Park residence in the provincial capital, the election rally will end at Data Darbar, Geo News reported.
“When that lion [Imran Khan] will leave Zaman Park on Wednesday, there will be historic scenes in Lahore. Future generations would read and see the pictures and videos of [this event]. They will understand this is how a nation becomes alive,” Mr. Azhar said.
The Punjab province will go to polls on April 30, President Arif Alvi announced last week, hours after the country’s top electoral body wrote him a letter suggesting possible poll dates as directed by the Supreme Court. The announcement came two days after the apex court ruled that the elections to the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) assemblies be held within the stipulated 90 days period.
The Punjab and KP assemblies were dissolved on January 14 and January 18 respectively, and under the law, the elections should be held within 90 days after their dissolution.
The announcement of the date was delayed due to wrangling between the main political parties, prompting the country’s top court to take notice and order that elections should be held within time or after a slight delay.
The PTI suspended its ‘Jail Bharo’ movement earlier this month following the Supreme Court’s ruling in a suo motu notice over the delay in announcing elections in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.
Pakistan’s electronic media watchdog on March 5 banned satellite television channels from broadcasting live and recorded speeches of the ousted prime minister with immediate effect, referring to which Azhar said that nobody could stop the PTI chairman’s “voice as it is Pakistan’s voice right now”, The News International newspaper said.
Mr. Khan, 70, has also been in the crosshairs for buying gifts, including an expensive Graff wristwatch he had received as the premier at a discounted price from the state depository called Toshakhana, and selling them for profit.
Islamabad Police on Monday registered a case against the ousted premier and 150 of his party workers for obstructing law enforcement agency officials from implementing a court order against him in the Toshakhana case.
Mr. Khan was ousted from power in April after losing a no-confidence vote in his leadership, which he alleged was part of a U.S.-led conspiracy targeting him because of his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia, China, and Afghanistan.
The PTI chief, who came to power in 2018, is the only Pakistani Prime Minister to be ousted in a no-confidence vote in Parliament.