SWABI: Peshawar-Islamabad Motorway was closed to traffic on Tuesday at Swabi Interchange to thwart former prime minister Imran Khan’s long march towards Islamabad.
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf had announced on Monday that processions from different districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would reach Swabi for entering Punjab province through motorway.
However, Federal Minister for Interior Rana Sanaullah said that federal government would not allow the PTI caravan to enter Islamabad.
The officials, when contacted, said that the motorway was closed to traffic at the bridge on the Indus River near Swabi Interchange. They said that traffic was diverted from Swabi Interchange to Jahangira Road.
PTI workers determined to reach Islamabad at any cost
According to the schedule of the PTI ‘Azadi March’ to be held on Wednesday (today), workers would leave for Islamabad thorough motorway. However, federal government has taken all possible steps to stop the participants of the march.
PTI leader and Provincial Minister for Education Shahram Khan Tarakai said that the tactics of federal government to block the PTI caravan was a big mistake. He said that both leaders and workers of PTI were determined to reach Islamabad to force the government to announce date for fresh general elections in the country.
In Kohat, the highway was closed at Khusahlgarh Bridge to stop convoys of PTI workers going from southern districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to attend the long march.
Long queues of vehicles were seen on the Kohat side as a container was placed by the Punjab government on the highway to close it to traffic coming from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
In Mansehra, PTI has finalised its strategy to include a record number of women in the ‘Azadi March’.
“Although a record number of men would go to the federal capital to be part of the Haqeqi Azadi March, the participation of women would also be a record in history of Hazara division,” Ambreen Swati, PTI coordinator for the march, told journalists on Tuesday.
She said that female activists of the party were actively pursuing their task to mobilise women to take part in the march. “Central president of PTI women wing Kanwal Shauzab has also notified MPAs Momina Basit and Maleeha Asghar and Reena Malik as coordinators for the Hazara division besides me,” she added.
Ms Swati said that women were strong force of PTI and would stand shoulder to shoulder with their leader Imran Khan during the march. “Early elections are the only solution to the current political and economic crisis in the country,” she added.
A meeting of PTI was held here with Senator Azam Khan Swati in the chair. The meeting was attended by among others by Hazara division coordinator Salah Mohammad Khan and MPA Babar Saleem Swati.
“We would reach the federal capital at any cost and any attempt to stop our convoy would be foiled,” Azam Swati told the meeting.
The special assistant to chief minister, MPA Ahmad Hussain Shah, also chaired a meeting in Balakot and announced to take a big crowd to the federal capital.
In Lower Dir, PTI leaders said that thousands of workers would join the caravan of Imran Khan at Karnal Sher Khan Interchange in Swabi on Wednesday.
The announcement was made during a meeting of the party workers held in Timergara with MNA Bashir Khan in the chair. MNA Syed Mehboob Shah, MPA Malik Shafiullah Khan, PTI former district general secretary Malik Adnan, Rahat Farooqi and others attended the meeting. The workers were directed to carry along with them essential items like food, medicines and blankets. The meeting was informed that workers would be led by Imran Khan and Chief Minister Mahmood Khan from Swabi.
The participants promised to accompany the lawmakers from Lower Dir. The meeting decided that vehicular procession of PTI workers would leave for Swabi at 8am from Tarai Bypass Road. The workers were advised against travelling alone.
Published in Dawn, May 25th, 2022