LAHORE: PTI leaders in Lahore have vowed to protect party chief Imran Khan at any cost amid fears of his arrest, insisting that he was their red line.

In a meeting chaired by PTI Secre­tary General Asad Umar, party representatives in the city decided to ensure Mr Khan’s security and duties were assigned to leaders in this regard.

Earlier on Wednesday, scores of supporters gathered outside Imran Khan’s Zaman Park residence to resist a pot­e­n­tial bid to arrest him. Top party lea­der Fawad Chaudhry has been arre­sted since then on sedition charges.

In the meeting, Mr Umar said the current government was responsible for all the crises facing the country and lamented that even at such a critical time, the rulers were prospering while the financial situation of the masses was worsening. He said the rulers were busy getting their corruption cases cleared and victimising PTI leaders.

Office-bearers meet in Lahore; Asad reiterates party chief is ‘red line’

Stressing that Mr Khan was fighting to save the country and its people, the PTI secretary general said the party even sacrificed its two provincial governments to achieve its objective.

Yasmin Rashid, president of PTI’s central Punjab wing, said the party workers had remained outside Imran Khan’s residence and were continuously fighting against all tactics being employed by the government.

She vowed that the PTI would fight tooth and nail to stop any attempt to arrest party chief Imran Khan and warned that the government would be responsible if Mr Khan was hurt in any way.

She said Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and his predecessor Miftah Ismail had ruined the country’s economy during the past eight months, and citizens were braced for more price hikes.

“The imported government is shifting the burden of its inabilities and failures onto the shoulders of the masses,” she lamented.

Brushing aside the threat of Mr Khan’s arrest, Ms Rashid said party leaders and workers were standing alert outside the party chairman’s residence and warned that no one should dare to do any adventure.

PTI Lahore President Sheikh Imtiaz Mahmood and General Secretary Zubair Niazi made similar comments, resolving that the government would have to walk over their bodies to arrest Mr Khan.

PTI leaders from Lahore, including Shafqat Mahmood, Ejaz Chaudhry, Mian Mahmoodur Rasheed, Mian Aslam Iqbal and Jamshed Iqbal Che­e­ma, also participated in the meeting.

Outside Imran Khan’s residence in Zaman Park, a large number of party workers and leaders have been camping for the past four days to avert any possible attempt by the PML-N government to arrest the party chairman.

Scored of party workers, party leaders Asad Umar, Fawad Chaudhry, Dr Yasmin Rashid, Hammad Azhar and others had gathered outside Zaman Park in the wee hours on Wednesday when they learnt that the government was planning to arrest their party chief. Later, Fawad Chaudhry was picked up by law enforcement agencies from his residence and taken to Islamabad.

Several PTI leaders and workers are still outside Mr Khan’s residence, where they intermittently raise slogans against the “imported government” and in solidarity with the party chief.

Rallies of party workers and leaders have continued to come to the Zaman Park camp while holding placards and party flags.

As party leader Shahbaz Gill — who was earlier arrested on sedition charges — arrived at the camp, the workers chanted ‘khauf kay aagay jeet hai’ (There is victory after fear) — a slogan that was also trending on Twitter on Saturday.

Published in Dawn, January 29th, 2023

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