The workers of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) blocked Peshawar-Islamabad Motorway for more than six hours on Tuesday to lodge their protest against the federal government for what they called rigging the 2013 general elections. On the call of PTI chairman Imran Khan, the workers of his party staged a protest camp at Charsadda Mor and blocked the motorway for several hours to traffic. Dancing to drumbeats and party songs, the protesters also enjoyed traditional Charsadda rice.
Hopes for ‘good news’ as PTI, PAT meet negotiators, Peshawar PTI general secretary Fazl Mohammad Khan, Charsadda president Zahoor Khan, Jehangir Raza, Anwar Taj, Zakir Shah, Sadiqullah and Nisar Mohammad Khan addressed the protesters. PTI former candidate from PK-18 Tari Azam Khan, former MPA Saeed Mohammad Khan and Nadir Khan were also present on the occasion. The speakers said that Imran Khan was leading ‘Azadi March’ of party workers in Islamabad against rigging of 2013 elections, ‘fake parliament’, price hike, lawlessness and ‘tyrant’ ruler Nawaz Sharif that was his democratic and constitutional right. They said that people of the country particularly the residents of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would stand with Imran Khan to save the motherland from the corrupt and opportunist rulers.
They said that people from Khyber to Karachi wanted Nawaz Sharif to step down and form a national government to hold free, fair and transparent elections. They pledged that the protest would continue till ouster of the PML-N government. The speakers said that the present parliament was fake as it was formed in result of planned rigging. They also lashed at JUI-F emir Maulana Fazlur Rehman and QWP chief Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, saying that after failing to get ministries in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa they sought attention of Nawaz Sharif to get ministries in federal government. They also criticised PTI president Javed Hashmi for the role played by him at this critical juncture. Meanwhile, the PTI workers belonging to Swabi district also blocked Peshawar-Islamabad Motorway at Swabi Interchange. The protesters, led by MNA Aqibullah Khan and PTI district president Anwar Haqdad Khan, gathered in the district headquarters and marched to Swabi Interchange where they staged a sit-in and blocked the road to traffic.
The protesters alleged that prime minister was responsible for the entire disturbed scenario in the country. The motorway remained blocked from 9am to 3pm. The protesters erected blockade on the road and warned the drivers and transporters that they should not try to cross the blockade. They chanted slogans against Nawaz Sharif and demanded his immediate resignation. It was perhaps the first time that the motorway remained blocked for such a long time by leaders and workers of a political party. The transporters and commuters faced severe hardships to reach their destinations owing to blockade of the motorway. “Waiting for six hours under the open sky is not easy. People travel through motorway to reach their destinations early,” said Azmat Ali, a passenger going to Islamabad from Peshawar. Another passenger said that support of people couldn’t be gotten through such acts. “I fear that it might backfire if the leadership of PTI doesn’t learn a lesson from its past mistakes,” he said.
Addressing the protesters, Mr Aqibullah said that they were determined to continue their protest tell the resignation of prime minister. He said that the 2013 general elections were rigged and the prime minister came into power as a result of engineered elections. He said that the protest of PTI would continue in Islamabad till the achievement of its declared objectives. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Haqdad said that they were directed by provincial leadership to stage a protest demonstration and they would continue to work according to the plan of the provincial leadership. “The leadership of the party will continue the protest till the meeting of its demand of resignation of the prime minister,” he said.
In Peshawar, PTI workers continued their sit-in at Jehaz Chowk, Hayatabad on the second consecutive on Tuesday against police action in Islamabad. The sit-in was held on the call of Imran Khan to express solidarity with PTI activists injured during police baton charge in the federal capital. The protesters, led by Adviser to Chief Minister Dr Mehar Taj Roghani, renamed the Jehaz Chowk as Azadi Chowk. A large number of PTI workers including women, students and youth participated in the sit-in. Addressing on the occasion, Dr Roghani said the sit-in in Peshawar would continue as long the sit-in in Islamabad continued. She alleged that the government attacked the peaceful protestors to instigate them and defame the peaceful movement meant for ousting the government of Nawaz Sharif. -dawn