Imran Khan kick-starts his long march from Lahore after hours-long delay
PTI chief says his criticism of Army constructive: We will remain peaceful, will not enter Red Zone: Only a few hundred so far assembled at Liberty Chowk: Long march will hit GT Road tomorrow: Private schools around Liberty Chowk closed down
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PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Friday launched his party's long march from Lahore, asserting that his march is not for politics rather it is for Haqeeqi Azadi (real freedom), reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
However, his Azadi March was way beyond its schedule as it started hours after the schedule time of 11:00 am.
PTI Chairman Imran Khan reached the Liberty Chowk to kick start his Long March from Lahore after 3:00 pm. He addressed the Long March participants saying that his march on Federal Capital is not for politics, not for his personal gain and not for election. Rather his march is for Haqeeqi Azadi as he wants to make this country a free country.
Imran says his criticism of Army constructive
In his speech from the container in Liberty Chowk, former prime minister and PTI Chief Imran Khan said that his criticism of the Army was constructive.
Imran said he was not an absconder like Nawaz Sharif who had kept mum while in Pakistan and started criticizing the Army when he reached London.
Imran said that he was not going to leave this country. “I will live and die here. I want to see Pakistan which should be free. And for a free country, you need a powerful Army. If your Army is weak, then the independence of the country will be gone,” he emphasized.
Addressing the ISPR DG, Imran said that his criticism of the Army was constructive. “My criticism is for the betterment of the institution. We do not want to harm our country,” he said reiterating “I could have said so many things and could have answered your (DG ISPR’s) questions but I do not want to weaken my country’s institutions.” He said his (DG ISPR) press conference was more political than Sheikh Rasheed's.
Imran announces Arshad Sharif Shaheed University of Journalism
PTI Chairman Imran Khan also announced the constitution of the Arshad Sharif Shaheed University of Journalism in Punjab.
‘We will remain peaceful, will not enter Red Zone’
Imran Khan said that the PTI marchers would not break any law. They would confine themselves to the areas where the authorities had allowed them to hold their protest march. He said his activists would not enter the Red Zone. He said we had been following law and Constitution for the last 26 years. “‘We hold peaceful protests in which families with their women and kids participate,” he added.
Long March reaches Qaddafi Stadium
The long march reached Qaddafi Stadium Metro Station and a large number of more workers are joining Imran Khan for his cause of 'Haqiqi Azadi'.
Participants of the PTI Long March are carrying national and party flags and chanting slogans in favour of their leadership of Imran Khan.
Marchers reached the Qaddafi Stadium Metro Station in two hours from the starting point of Liberty Chowk.
Imran’s march reaches Kalma Chowk, traffic badly affected
PTI’s Long march led by Kaptan Imran Khan reached the main boulevard near Kalma Chowk.
The traffic system was badly affected due to the long march in Lahore and citizens are facing severe difficulties.
The main highways of the city are closed while the Lahore police have forcibly closed various markets in the city.
Earlier, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) workers and supporters slowly started to assemble at Lahore’s Liberty Chowk. On the other hand, only a few hundred people, carrying PTI flags in their hands and shouting slogans, have gathered before Friday prayers at Liberty Chowk, where a reception camp has also been set up.
The party workers will take out rallies from different parts of the country, and will eventually join the march.
Sh Rashid foresees ‘successful’ long march
Former interior minister Sheikh Rashid said on Friday that people would join the PTI’s long march, set to begin from former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s Zaman Park residence in Lahore todayl.
Talking to media on arrival at the Zaman Park, he expressed the optimism that by the grace of The Almighty Allah the march would be successful.
Rashid also claimed that the government would not create obstacles in the way of march because it knew that it was surrounded by the PTI governments from all sides.
Liberty Chowk scene
The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf participants of the long march have started assembling at Liberty Chowk in Lahore on Friday but so far not in great numbers.
The PTI workers are holding party flags and wearing dresses depicting party flag colours. A reception camp has been established at the Liberty Chowk where the PTI march participants would be gathered. Different rallies from across the city would join the main procession and then they would start their march to other cities.
After gathering at Liberty Chowk, the marchers will trudge through Ferozepur Road, Ichhra, Mozang, Data Darbar and then head to Azadi Chowk. And tomorrow (Saturday), the marchers will hit GT Road to start their journey towards Islamabad.
During a press conference on Tuesday, former prime minister and PTI Chief Imran Khan said that his scheduled march on the capital, Islamabad, starting Friday could trigger a "soft revolution" in the country through the ballot box and warned of chaos if authorities try to block the protest.
“We will gather at Liberty Chowk at 11am on Friday, and set off for Islamabad,” he told a hurriedly called press conference. "This is our march for haqeeqi azaadi and it has no timeframe,” he added.
Since his government’s removal in April through a no-confidence vote in parliament this year, Imran is demanding fresh elections.
The PTI is starting its march from Lahore, Punjab where it runs the provincial government along with its ally - PML-Q.
The PTI’s caravan will make stopovers at different towns and cities on its way to the federal capital.
In the first phase, PTI workers and supporters will travel from Lahore to Shahdara, in the second phase from Shahdara to Gujranwala, and in the third stage, they will travel from Gujranwala to Gujrat via Sialkot.
On the other hand, participants of the march from Quetta and Karachi will also leave for Islamabad today, while those from Multan, other parts of southern Punjab, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) will leave on Wednesday (November 2, 2022).
All PTI caravans will reach the federal capital next Friday (November 4, 2022).
On Thursday, CCPO Lahore Ghulam Mehmood Dogar chaired a high-level meeting to provide security to the people of the city during the PTI’s long march. It was decided that total 9, 000 police personnel would be deployed in the city on the occasion.
On the other hand, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said on Thursday that the long march of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) would not be allowed to enter the Red Zone in Islamabad at any cost. The government would deploy the army under Article 245 of the Constitution and the marching protesters would be contained at all the entry points to the capital.
Meanwhile, owners of private schools around Liberty Chowk have shut down their institutions and also informed the parents about their decision.
However, EDO Lahore has announced that the government schools will remain open.
Reporters: Hussain Aulakh, Fasih-ur-Rehman, Usman Khadim Kamboh