Home Latest News PTI’s Rallies Disrupted by Police Crackdown in Various Cities

PTI’s Rallies Disrupted by Police Crackdown in Various Cities

Clash between police, demonstrators in Karachi results in over 20 arrests and one injured policeman

by Staff Report

A PTI rally in Bajaur

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), on the call of founder Imran Khan, staged rallies and demonstrations in various parts of the country on Sunday, though the events were marred in several places clashes between police and the crowds.

Ahead of Sunday’s rallies, the PTI claimed police had launched an overnight crackdown on its workers and leaders, arresting dozens of workers and candidates for the Feb. 8 general elections. Among the detainees was NA-129 candidates Mian Muhammad Azhar, the father of PTI leader Hammad Azhar, though he was released within hours of being taken into custody. The party also alleged police raids on their election offices, confiscation of party paraphernalia, and the dismantling of banners and panaflexes, ostensibly to intimidate party workers and voters.

While rallies in some rural areas, and most parts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, did not encounter much resistance from police, the situation was different in major cities, where clashes saw forcible dispersals. During the rallies, police in Punjab clashed with PTI workers in Lahore, Bahawalpur, Toba Tek Singh, Jhang, Faisalabad, Khanewal, Dera Ghazi Khan, Lodhran, and Kasur. A rally led by PTI candidate Kanwal Shozeb was among those forcibly dispersed in Ahmedpur East town of Bahawalpur district.

The greatest unrest was witnessed in Karachi, where more than 20 PTI workers were arrested after clashing with police at the Teen Talwar monument, while one policeman was injured. In a statement, police claimed the party had failed to secure an NOC to hold a rally in the ‘Red Zone,’ adding attempts to dissuade them were met with force, triggering the use of tear-gas and baton-charges. The PTI, however, claimed it had “informed” the district administration of the gathering and questioned why it was being denied the right to conduct a rally when other parties were doing the same.

In Peshawar and other parts of KP, PTI workers staged sizable rallies, though encountered police baton-charges on Ring Road in provincial capital Peshawar. At least 30 people were arrested by police, allegedly for interfering in government affairs and not secure an NOC to stage a rally.

Rallies were also held in Dir, Dera Ismail Khan, Bajaur, Khyber, Mansehra and other districts of KP.

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