The PTI on Friday was allowed by the Rawalpindi administration on a 56-point permit to stage its sit-in near Faizabad on Saturday (today), despite the looming security threats.
Separately, PTI leader Asad Umar claimed that attempts were being made to disrupt the party’s “peaceful” rally in Rawalpindi and the life of party chairman and deposed premier Imran Khan was in danger as the Islamabad administration was not allowing him to reach the venue in a helicopter.
The Rawalpindi administration issued a notification that read that the England cricket team would soon arrive in Rawalpindi, therefore the venue should be completely vacated after the rally was over.
Orders had been issued to the Rawalpindi police to take all necessary security measures for the rally, it added.
The notification clarified that the PTI chief could only use the route decided by the PTI, Islamabad administration and security agencies.
Moreover, Imran was barred from using a vehicle with a sunroof before and after the rally.
The permit read that Allama Iqbal Park could not be used for the PTI activists' stay and should be completely vacated after the procession.
The traffic police emphasised on the need for the participants of the rally to strictly follow its plan for motorists.
Anti-state sloganeering and the use of drone cameras were prohibited during the rally and sit-in.
The notification read that the administration of the rally would be held responsible in case of any untoward incident or loss of life.
It added that legal action would be taken for violating the terms and conditions.
The PTI chairman would not be greeted with garlands.
Food items would be provided to the participants of the rally after being inspected by the Special Branch.
The administration sent copies of the permit to all institutions concerned.
The Faizabad flyover, which connects the federal capital and Rawalpindi, has been completely sealed from all four sides because of the PTI’s rally and sit-in.
This caused severe problems for citizens travelling to Islamabad using the flyover.
Blocked roads created long queues and vehicles were stuck in traffic jams.
The closure of the main highways of the garrison city led to severe traffic jams on its Double Road, IJP Road and Rawalpindi-Murree Road. Ambulances were also reportedly stuck in the traffic gridlocks.
According to the traffic police, a diversion had been set up at Faizabad for those travelling from Islamabad to Rawalpindi via Murree Road. They added that Old Airport Road and Stadium Road could be used to enter Islamabad from Rawalpindi.
In Islamabad, Express Chowk and Nadra Chowk remained closed for entry into the Red Zone.
However, alternative routes of Margalla Road, Ayub Chowk and Serena Chowk could be used for commuting.
Police claimed that PTI activists had blocked the road by placing a container to prepare for the rally, disconnecting it from Faizabad to Islamabad.
The police have issued guidelines that citizens should take alternative routes and call 15 in the case of an emergency.
In a related development, PTI General Secretary Umar accused the Islamabad deputy commissioner of trying to endanger the life of party chief Imran by barring him from travelling to Rawalpindi’s Parade Ground via a helicopter despite being given permission by the GHQ.
A day earlier, the Islamabad district administration had refused to grant permission to the deposed premier to land his helicopter at the Parade Ground for the Rawalpindi rally.
Talking to the media at Allama Iqbal Park, Umar questioned what “instructions” were being given to the Islamabad DC.
He said that if something happened to Imran, the federal government would be responsible.
He added that the Islamabad DC would be “directly responsible” if some untoward incident occurred with the PTI chief.
Umar maintained that Imran’s helicopter would land at the Parade Ground, and questioned the authority of the Islamabad DC when the GHQ had given the PTI chief permission to use a chopper for travel.
He further said a tent city was under construction in Allama Iqbal Park.
The PTI leader claimed that Imran had been advised to rest but wanted to stay among the people.
“The cricket matches will not be affected by the PTI sit-in,” he assured, referring to the upcoming contests between Pakistan and England.
Umar also took to his official Twitter handle to reiterate the claim that the Islamabad administration was “deliberately” trying to increase the threat to Imran Khan’s life.
He maintained the Islamabad administration had given no reason for denying permission to land the chopper at Rawalpindi’s Parade Ground because there could be none.
The PTI submitted another application to the Islamabad administration on Friday, seeking permission to land the chopper carrying Imran to the Parade Ground.
The Islamabad administration is yet to make a decision.
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