Imran leads Lahore lockdown

Lahore : Imran Khan, leader of opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Monday led the party workers around Lahore demanding an inquiry into the alleged rigging in the May 2013 general elections and forced the city to shutdown.

Party workers gathered at all main roads of the city in the morning and burnt tyres, leading to suspension of transport services.

The city’s main markets and most of the schools, colleges and universities also remained closed.

Although the ruling PML-N had stopped its workers from coming out on roads to avoid a face-off with the PTI activists, at Bhatti Chowk, Hall Road and Chungi Amer Sadhu, the activists of both parties had a scuffle. However, with the intervention of police, the situation was brought under control.          Over 12,000 policemen have been deployed on all major roads in the city to prevent any violence.               Khan termed the shutdown of Lahore as a big success for the PTI workers.

“The response of the Lahorities on my call is more than my expectations,” said Khan, who will address a rally at Mall Road later in the day. “I am thankful to the Lahorities. I also want to apologise to them for inconvenience but their one day’s sacrifice can make New Pakistan. If we do not make sacrifices today our children would need to make sacrifices tomorrow,” he said.

The PTI chief said that the party workers have been holding protests since August for their legitimate demands, but justice is being denied by the government.

Khan has warned that he and his supporters will paralyse the country on December 18 if the government fails to constitute a judicial commission comprising Supreme Court judges and officials of ISI and military intelligence to probe the allegations of rigging in the polls. The government also admitted that the PTI workers managed to shutdown the city.

“The PTI should be ashamed of shutting down Lahore today. Schools and colleges remained closed which is unfortunate,” Federal Minister Ahsan Iqbal said. The Punjab government alleged that three people, including a child died, as the ambulances carrying them could not reach hospital because of the blockade of the roads.

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