ISLAMABAD: Former Prime Minister Imran Khan's political party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is all set to kick off its new campaign called "Jail Bharo Tehreek" (fill the jails movement) from Lahore on Wednesday, with over 200 supporters gearing up to take to the streets in protest against court arrests.
"Fill up the prisons and shatter the idols of fear, " Khan said in a video message while announcing the start to the campaign. The PTI's plan is to render their arrests as part of the phase wise court arrest drive in protest against what they call, ouster of their government from power and deliberate attempts to now have elections in the country at the federal and the provincial level by the current ruling coalition government under Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
The campaign was smartly turned into top trends on social media by the PTI social media team, motivating its supporters to become part of the campaign, which is starting today from Lahore. PTI has also done many rallies in different cities building up to the campaign launch day (today).
However, it is expected that top leadership of PTI may not give their court arrest in the first phase of the campaign. In the first phase, at least 200 PTI third-tier leaders and supporters are expected to give court arrest today in Lahore. As per details, the PTI supporters will reach the chairing cross, in front of the Punjab Provincial Assembly building at Mall Road Lahore, where they will record their anti-government protest and render their arrests.
On the other hand, the provincial government has maintained that it is already imposed Section-144 at the Mall Road, barring any public gathering at the venue of PTI protest, while directives have been given to security officials to not arrest any one until the protest turns violent and aggressive. But PTI plans to carry forward its protest rally, despite imposition of Section 144.
If PTI leaders and supporters are not arrested, then the plan is to transform the rally into a protest sit-in at the chairing cross until their supporters and leaders are not arrested. As per the PTI plan, Lahore is the starting point of the Jail Bharo Tehreek. After Lahore, similar arrests will be rendered in Peshawar on 23 February, in Rawalpindi on Feburary 24, Multan on February 25, Gujranwala on February 26, Sargodha on February 27 and Sahiwal on February 28, while Faislabad will join the campaign on the first day of the March.
"We had sought at least 200 volunteers for the first day of the drive but more than 2, 000 have signed up for the drive, " said Senator Ejaz Chaudhry, senior leader of PTI. Interestingly, former Information Minister and senior leader of PTI Fawad Chaudhry has stated that former Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and former Finance Minister Asad Umar have also insisted that they would become part of the campaign in the first phase, and may be rendering their court arrests today as well.
"This is a unique event in the history of Pakistan. No other political party had ever dared to start a movement where its workers and leaders would volunteer for arrests. This protest is against the blatant human rights violations, skyrocketing inflation and the deal with the IMF (International Monetary Fund), " said Fawad Chaudhry. "PTI supporters would give up their individual freedom for the 220 million people of this country, " said Asad Umar.
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