PTI Chairman Imran Khan has announced a public meeting at Minar-i-Pakistan to kick off his election campaign after a week of wrangling with the interim government of Punjab. The announcement was made at the same venue where he launched his campaign for the 2013 elections with a massive show of power. Mr. Khan, who faces serious threats to his life, told the participants of his rally from inside the bomb-and-bulletproof vehicle at Data Darbar Chowk on Monday that he was not fighting for his personal gain but for the sake of Pakistanis and their future generations.
The PTI chief called on the people of Lahore to join him at a mass public meeting at Minar-i-Pakistan on March 19 and show the world how people are standing with him in his jihad for ‘Haqeeqi Azadi’. During the rally, PTI leaders, workers, and supporters showered petals and chanted slogans along the route.
The district administration closed all roads leading to the route of the rally with containers on the pretext of security, while a heavy contingent of police guarded the rally. Mr. Khan criticized the incumbent rulers, saying they were using every tactic to eliminate the PTI leadership from the upcoming elections and were crossing all limits in character assassination.
He paid tribute to slain PTI worker Ali Bilal, also known as Zille Shah, who lost his life on March 8 as the caretaker Punjab government used force to block a rally called to launch the party’s campaign for the April 30 elections in the province. Mr. Khan sent a message on behalf of the nation to those responsible for his death, stating that he and the nation would never forget or forgive them until those police officials and those who tortured him are brought to justice.
The rally eventually concluded from where it began, i.e. Mr. Khan’s residence in Zaman Park, late on Monday night. Mr. Khan also said that the PTI would emerge as the only party that collected donations through legal means and that corrupt rulers would flee the country to save their loot.