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Will no longer travel with protocol, says Imran Khan

Updated January 15, 2015

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Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan - DawnNews screen grab
Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan - DawnNews screen grab

ISLAMABAD: After coming under heavy criticism a day earlier, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Thursday said that he will no longer travel with heavy security protocol in the future.

"From now on, you will never again see any kind of protocol with me," Imran said at a press conference in the federal capital. "There were only six cars in the protocol. But since it was the first visit with my wife and all our MPs and ministers were there, it appeared bigger."

Defending his decision to visit the army school two days later than the opening on January 14, he said, "I did not want to go for the media. But we were advised not to go because it was the army's soft opening and General Raheel was there."

He said he empathised with the sentiments of the families. "If I were in place of those protesting parents I may have also protested because of the sheer brutality of the killings."

The chairman met resistance a day earlier during his visit to Peshawar's Army Public School, as parents of the victims blocked his entry to the school premises.

Social media users slammed the politician for traveling to the school in a large cavalcade in contradiction of his earlier stance against "VIP culture". Reports stated that Imran arrived at the school in a motorcade of 18 to 32 cars, which included SUVs.

Party leader Arif Alvi came to Khan's defence on Twitter by saying Imran Khan is not in favour of large motorcades..

During the press conference, Khan further said that he understands the heartache that the victims' loved ones that protested outside the school during his visit.

More on this: Grieving parents try to stop Imran from entering APS

Grieving parents of children killed by terrorists in the school last month, tried on Wednesday to stop Imran Khan and his wife from entering the school in protest against what they described as the insensitivity of the PTI chairman for getting married, ignoring the pain and scars left by the massacre of nearly 150 students at staff members.

Police escorting Mr Khan and his wife Reham Khan scuffled with the agitated parents, among them women, as they tried to clear way for the couple, other leaders of the party and provincial ministers which caused further anger and commotion.