Govt advises Imran Khan to address Lahore rally virtually amid 'severe threat alerts'

Published April 20, 2022
PTI Chairman Imran Khan addresses a rally in Karachi on April 16. — Photo courtesy PTI Instagram
PTI Chairman Imran Khan addresses a rally in Karachi on April 16. — Photo courtesy PTI Instagram

Lahore Additional Deputy Commissioner Atiyab Sultan on Wednesday wrote to PTI leaders recommending that former prime minister Imran Khan address the party's Lahore rally, scheduled for Thursday, virtually in light of "severe threat alerts".

Days after the ouster of the PTI government, the former ruling party kicked off a nationwide protest campaign from Peshawar on April 13, followed by a rally in Karachi on April 16. Both rallies saw a large number of people come out in support of Khan, who addressed these gatherings in person.

His next rally is due to be held tomorrow (April 21) at the Minar-i-Pakistan in Lahore.

In a notification issued by the Deputy Commissioner's Office today, Sultan wrote: "In light of severe threat alerts received from security agencies and as per latest intelligence assessment made at the district and provincial levels, it is recommended that ex-prime minister Imran Khan should address the public gathering virtually by video conference and LED display instead of making a physical appearance at Greater Iqbal Park, Lahore on 21-04-2022."

The letter, which is addressed to PTI Punjab president Shafqat Mahmood, PTI Lahore president Sheikh Imtiaz Mahmood, PTI Punjab general secretary Zubair Niazi and the organiser of the rally, Ali Warraich, requested them to take timely action to "avoid any untoward incident".

Responding to the letter, PTI Additional Secretary Information Hassan Khawar told DawnNewsTV the party would not be discouraged through such tactics by the government.

"The government should not be worried by the PTI's campaign," Khawar said.

He said the PTI chairman would participate in the Lahore rally and the party would continue its campaign to connect with the people.

Earlier this month, then-information minister Fawad Chaudhry had said that a plot to assassinate Khan had been reported by security agencies.

"After these reports, the prime minister's security has been beefed up as per the government's decision," he had said at the time.

His statement had followed another PTI leader Faisal Vawda's claims that a conspiracy was being hatched to assassinate the then-prime minister over his refusal to "sell the country".

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