Pakistan: Imran Khan arrives in Islamabad, party caravans converge towards rally venue in Rawalpindi

Khan left his Zaman Park residence in Lahore around 1 pm local time in a bullet-proof vehicle, which was sent to his place. He is expected to address his supporters at around 6 pm.

Published: 26th November 2022 05:34 PM  |   Last Updated: 26th November 2022 05:34 PM   |  A+A-

Imran Khan

Pakistan former PM Imran Khan (Photo | PTI)


ISLAMABAD: Imran Khan arrived here on Saturday, accompanied by a team of doctors and his nephew, from where the former Pakistan prime minister will travel on a helicopter to the garrison city of Rawalpindi to address a mega rally, the first since he was wounded during an assassination bid.

Khan, 70, who is recovering from bullet wounds suffered during a gun attack on him on November 3, is poised to address his supporters in Rawalpindi to demand fresh general elections and reiterated that the protest would be "completely peaceful".

Khan, the chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, landed at the Nur Khan airbase in a chartered plane from Lahore and was accompanied by a team of doctors and his nephew Ahmed Khan Niazi, the Express Tribune newspaper reported.

He will travel to Rawalpindi on a helicopter and will land at the Barani University helipad, from where he will make his way towards the rally venue, the report said.

Meanwhile, Rawalpindi Police have written to the top leadership of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, urging them to ensure implementation of the directives for VIP security provision for the former premier, Geo TV reported on Saturday.

Khan has also been advised to wear a bulletproof jacket, should not exit the vehicle on the way to the rally's venue and keep his movement secret, the letter read.

Khan left his Zaman Park residence in Lahore around 1 pm local time in a bullet-proof vehicle, which was sent to his place. He is expected to address his supporters at around 6 pm.

Meanwhile, convoys of PTI leaders, workers and supporters are making their way to Rawalpindi on Saturday for the Haqeeqi Azadi march, the Express Tribune report said.

PTI Secretary General Asad Umar said the gathering would be 'historic'.

Khan's supporters are on the move from all corners of the country to reach Rawalpindi, the twin sister city of Islamabad, where a stage has been prepared on the Sixth Road Flyover in the middle of historic Murree Road.

Some avid supporters, who have already landed in the city, were housed in a temporary tent structure set up in the Allama Iqbal Park near the venue of the rally.

Meanwhile, PTI Senator Azam Khan Swati said the 'haqeeqi azadi' movement was on course to reach its destination.

In a video message shared by PTI on its official Twitter account, Swati said, "all characters of the regime change will be humiliated by God and this caravan of the freedom movement is not going to stop anyway."

ALSO READ | Imran Khan says he is determined to address long march despite threat to his life

The Rawalpindi administration has 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.

The former cricketer-turned-politician said on Friday that despite being injured he is determined to head to Rawalpindi for the sake of the nation.

Khan in his message said that he was fighting for the real independence of the country and the struggle would continue until fresh elections were announced.

"We are fighting a war for the Haqeeqi Azadi. The one-point agenda is elections," he said, as he accused the current government of destroying the economy and running away from elections due to fear of defeat.

Separately, he told a news channel that if the snap elections were not announced and the government stuck to its stance of holding the general election on time next October, then the masses would throw out the incumbent rulers through force.

"The Haqeeqi Azadi movement will not end today (Nov 26), but continue until justice is dispensed with," he said.

He called upon the public to reach the garrison city for the protest movement.

"Going to Rawalpindi tomorrow (Saturday) as it is a decisive time in the country. We want to become a country that Quaid-e-Azam and Allama Iqbal dreamt of," he said on Friday.

ALSO READ | Pakistan: JIT stops probe over assassination attempt on Imran Khan

The former premier said some elements wanted an altercation between him and the Army. He added he only had issues with some black sheep within the Army and not the entire institution. Khan said the two bullet wounds in his thigh were healing, but he was facing difficulties walking owing to the third bullet that pierced the lower part of his leg.

He also acknowledged that he was still facing threats and would take all precautionary measures. Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah on Friday said that Khan would get a date for a snap election through protests.

"If Imran Khan wants elections he should behave like a politician and hold talks with the political leaders," he said.

There are intelligence reports about the threat to his life and his party has also acknowledged the looming threat. Sanaullah also warned that there was a threat to Khan's life and urged him to postpone the rally.

Khan said he would take all precautionary measures. He also said that it was not the first attack on his life as last month his helicopter had to make an emergency landing.

PTI secretary general Asad Umar also said that Khan was facing threat and the government would be responsible if something happened to him.

Through Saturday's mega rally in Rawalpindi, Khan wants to keep up the political momentum that he generated soon after the toppling of his government in April this year through a no-confidence vote.


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