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Imran avoids party gathering at Bhati Chowk for ‘security threat’

Updated April 25, 2018

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Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan along with other party leaders at the shrine of Hazrat Data Ganj Bakhsh. — White Star
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan along with other party leaders at the shrine of Hazrat Data Ganj Bakhsh. — White Star

LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan on Tuesday abruptly cancelled his scheduled address to the party workers and supporters at membership camps in the walled city because of “a serious security threat”.

Mr Khan left many party leaders and local workers stunned at Bhati Chowk as he passed by the membership camp venue without having any interaction with them.

While some party leaders say Mr Khan had never been deterred by any security threat and addressed public gatherings even in tougher situations like the PTI’s Raiwind Road rally, a senior leader said the district administration had warned Mr Khan of the “serious security threat” and requested postponing of his engagements on city roads.

Senator Chaudhry Sarwar, who addressed a thin public gathering at the Bhati Chowk, said Mr Khan had to leave for Islamabad owing to “pressing personal engagements”.

Meanwhile, talking to the media persons briefly on way to airport, Mr Khan said a “big wicket” was about to fall and this flood would turn into “tsunami plus” after the massive April 29 public meeting at the Greater Iqbal Park.

A visibly happy Khan, however, did not take a question regarding possibility of PML-N stalwart Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan finally joining the PTI.

“Masses’ tsunami will gather at the Minar-i-Pakistan on April 29, while another tsunami will come with more and more stalwarts (from other parties) joining the PTI after the historic public meeting,” he said.

Mr Khan said he had come to Lahore to motivate Lahorites and was happy to see that the whole city wore the colours of PTI flag.

He, however, stopped at Data Darbar, a few yards away from the public meeting venue, where the PTI chairman paid homage to the patron saint of Lahore and offered Fateha.

Mr Khan had arrived in Lahore earlier in the day to motivate and warm-up Lahorites ahead of the much-trumpeted public meeting to be held in the city.

He was scheduled to take a whirlwind round of the walled city areas and speak to people at four membership camps set up at Bhatti Chowk, Shahalam Chowk, Mochi Gate and Sheranwala Gate.

Mr Khan had on April 1 visited the city and spoke at six membership camps of his party.

Before arriving at Data Darbar, PML-Q leaders Dr Azeemuddin Zahid Lakhvi and Hashim Dogar from Kasur had called on Imran Khan at Gulberg and announced joining the party.

Mr Khan was accompanied by vice-chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Senator Chaudhry Sarwar and central Punjab president Abdul Aleem Khan.

Meanwhile, preparations for the PTI public meeting at the Greater Iqbal Park continued as party leaders led by Senator Faisal Javed Khan and MPA Shoaib Siddiqui inspected arrangements.

Published in Dawn, April 25th, 2018