LAHORE - The PTI is set to start its Azadi March from the Zaman Park residence of Imran Khan on Thursday (today) with the plan to stay put in Islamabad till the ouster of the present government.
The prime minister allowed PTI to go ahead with the march after the mediation of the JI chief, although the Lahore High Court restrained both the PTI and PAT from launching their Azadi and Inqilaab marches.
The Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) is also determined to undertake its Inqilaab March despite the fact that the government is not in the mood to let them come out on the streets. Party leaders gave final touches to their march plan on Wednesday night.
The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) march will be led by Imran Khan from his residence after offering a special prayer for achieving the targets of the march.
The Azadi March, according to PTI Punjab President Ijaz Chaudhry, will start from Zaman Park at 10am. Passing from The Mall Road, GPO Chowk, Karbala Gamay Shah, Data Darbar and Azadi Chowk, the marchers will cross Ravi Bridge and move on to the federal capital via GT Road.
PTI senior leader Dr Arif Alvi told The Nation that their activists have been asked to take along mats for sitting and Gur (jaggery) and Chanay (grams) for eating, tentatively for three days, while the remaining necessary items would be provided to them by party administration.
A huge number of PTI marchers had reached Zaman Park by late Wednesday night while more were arriving from different parts of Punjab.
The outer security cordon of Imran’s residence was being looked after by members of Punjab Police, Special Branch and Counter Terrorism Department, while the inner cordon was in control of PTI Razakars (volunteers) and private security people.
Thousands of enthusiastic male and female PAT activists too were ready to try to break through the heavy police siege in Model Town, waiting for instructions from Dr Tahirul Qadri, who has yet to give the launch call for the Inqilaab March.
According to PAT workers, they were ready to cope with any situation. However, they said they would remain peaceful as per orders of their leader.
Thousands of male party workers have been sitting in a public park in front of PAT secretariat. A stage has been set up for the address of party leaders to the workers. Party songs and national songs were being run on loudspeakers whereas some young people were dancing. The female workers were singing the party songs to the beats of drums.
A senior PAT leader when contacted said the final route of the march would be decided on its launch but tentatively they have decide to pass through the Faisal Town Main Boulevard and moving around Punjab University they would take to Canal Bank, The Mall Road to GT Road.
Moreover, the Punjab government has made strict arrangements for the security of the province keeping in view Independence Day and the marches. Primarily, Police and QRF commandoes will look after the security, while Rangers and Pak Army troops can also come to the aid of civil administration if any extraordinary situation arises. Lahore administrator and DCO Captain (r) Muhammad Usman has imposed Section 144 in Model Town and Sadar Division effective from 12pm Wednesday to 12pm Thursday.