A high-level delegation of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) visited the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and met Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikander Sultan Raja on Thursday.
The PTI delegation included Vice Chairperson Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Secretary General Asad Umar, and Malika Bukhari.
The former ruling party’s leaders discussed the attitude of the caretaker government of Punjab with the CEC.
They also raised the issue of the election campaign and the situation in Lahore yesterday where police used force to break up PTI supporters in Lahore leaving at least one person dead and dozens of others injured.
After the meeting, the party leadership will hold talks with the media.
The PTI announced a rally from Zaman Park to Data Darbar on Wednesday to mark the launch of its election campaign. Initially, it was stated that Imran would lead the rally. However, the district administration imposed a ban on public gatherings.
The violence began after police moved to the Zaman Park area, where the residence of PTI Chairman Imran Khan is located, to prevent the PTI workers from advancing toward Mall Road.
As the day started, the government announced the imposition of Section 144 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), banning gatherings, rallies, sit-ins etc, citing security threats and public nuisance, for seven days in Lahore.
After the issuance of the notification, the Lahore police started arresting the PTI activists on Mall Road. The police also placed containers and barricades to block the activists’ movement.
The police presence in the area started increasing as they moved to block all the points leading to Zaman Park from all sides. It was followed by the deployment of Anti-Riot Force (ARF), prison vans and water cannons.
On the other hand, the PTI workers, carrying clubs and sticks, moved to resist the police advance. Police then resorted to heavy tear gas shelling and baton charge and used water cannons to disperse them.
Footage of the clashes, shared on social media by both sides, showed police resorting to using of force against the PTI workers.
ECP summons Imran, Fawad
The meeting with the CEC comes shortly after the ECP issued bailable arrest warrants for former prime minister Imran Khan and Chaudhry Fawad Hussain in a case pertaining to “contemptuous remarks” against the electoral chief.
According to Express News, the commission also directed both PTI leaders to appear before it on March 14.
The ECP, in its order, said that Imran Khan was “intentionally” not appearing before the commission and is mocking the law, which is intolerable behaviour.
It stated that the former prime minister neither appeared himself at the last hearing nor did any of his lawyers on his behalf, adding that in such a situation there was no other option but to issue a warrant against him. The ECP also ordered the PTI chief to deposit a bond of Rs50,000 as a guarantee.