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LAHORE: With momentous NA-120 by-election around the corner, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) is all set to bring party chairman Imran Khan again -- this time to lead a rally from Charing Cross to Data Darbar.

As the rally route falls within the constituency, the PTI “will violate the code of conduct announced by the Election Commission of Pakistan”. The PTI has been crying hoarse about the violation of code by its rival PML-N and had submitted several petitions with the commission.

PTI’s vice-chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi had some two weeks ago told a news conference that the ECP had barred him and other party leaders from visiting the constituency. He complained that provincial minister Bilal Yasin and police officials were actively campaigning for Kulsoom Nawaz and criticised the ECP. “Who will implement the code of conduct in case of the PML-N election campaign,” he had asked.

The PTI finalised the “Karo faisla tabdeeli ka” rally route at a meeting chaired by party’s secretary-general Jehangir Khan Tareen here on Wednesday. The rally will begin from Charing Cross at 4pm today (Thursday) and move through The Mall, Lower Mall and conclude at Data Darbar.

The party high command has assigned duties to leaders in various constituencies to set up camps and welcome the rally at Charing Cross, Regal Chowk, High Court Chowk, Anarkali Chowk, Nasser Bagh and Data Darbar.

PTI leader Ejaz Chaudhry says the rally has nothing to do with the election campaign. Instead, party chairman Imran Khan will be visiting Data Darbar to pay homage to the patron saint.

A party worker said the PTI was compelled to violate the code of conduct because the ECP did not establish its writ when the party filed petitions reporting violations.

Speaking to the party leaders at the meeting, PTI central Punjab president Abdul Aleem Khan said workers had been assigned their duties at the grassroots level in respective union councils in the constituency. “The workers will perform their duties at polling stations on election day till the completion of vote count and try their utmost to check rigging,” he said.

Mr Khan said the party would immediately inform the ECP officials as well as the media as and when the workers would report any rigging evidence from polling stations in the constituency.

The party leaders also held a meeting with NA-120 coordinators and finalised polling day arrangements. The coordinators were asked to specially focus on women polling stations to check rigging.

Aleem Khan opened election offices in union councils 50, 53, 57, 60 and 74. Party workers and supporters welcomed him amidst drumbeats and fireworks.

Meanwhile, party candidate Dr Yasmin Rashid continued her door-to-door campaign and berated the government for continuing development work in the constituency despite a ban.

PAT SUPPORT: Jehangir Tareen and Abdul Aleem Khan called on Pakistan Awami Tehreek leader Khurram Nawaz Gandapur and discussed cooperation for the PTI candidate in the NA-120 election.

Another PTI delegation led by Chaudhry Sarwar, Ejaz Chaudhry, MPA Nausheen Hamid and others met PML-Q leaders Chaudhry Zaheeruddin, Kamil Ali Agha, Mian Imran Masood and others at the Pakistan Muslim League House.

The PML-Q leaders told the delegation that the party had decided to extend unconditional support to Dr Yasmin Rashid.

Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2017