LAHORE - The PTI high command has directed the important leaders and activists to go into hiding to avert the arrests and surface after receiving fresh instructions to lead the Azadi March caravans for August 14, The Nation has learnt.
According to close aides of Imran Khan, the top party leadership has directed all those party leaders and activists who are steering the arrangements for leading the supporters from their respective areas in Punjab to go into hiding to avert arrests and communicate through SMS and emails, where possible, to remain in contact with the second-line leadership.
They have been directed by the high command to surface after getting fresh instructions which they will possibly receive 48 hours before the Azadi March.
The leaders and workers who have received these directions include some important former party ticket holders, district leaders and workers across the Punjab.
The close aides of the party chief quoted him as saying that he wants presence of each leader and worker in the Azadi March while arrested leaders and workers are no good for the campaign starting on August 14.
They added Imran Khan advised the important leaders and workers, who are target of the government crackdown, to avert arrests to participate in the Azadi March.
They asserted the Azadi March would be launched under the command of Imran Khan from his residence in Zaman Park, while the marchers would proceed to Islamabad via GT Road, marching through The Mall.
However, Imran Khan who is reaching the provincial capital on August 11 would address a press conference at which he may make minor changes in the route of the Azadi March.
PTI Punjab President Ijaz Chaudhry, when asked about the preparations and strategy of the Azadi March, said, “A candidate for the National Assembly has been directed to bring 4,000 to 5,000 people and each provincial assembly candidate will have to bring 2,500 marchers for the Azadi March.” This target has been given to the Central, North and West Punjab regions’ leaderships, while the South Punjab leaders have been asked to bring 500 to 1,000 marchers due to their distant areas, he added.
Ijaz said the party workers have been directed to start gathering at Faisal Chowk at 10am on August 14 while the leaders and activists belonging to 22 districts of North, Central and West Punjab would reach the provincial capital under the command of the party chairman.
He claimed: “We have completed the registration of 100,000 motorcyclists who will rally behind Imran Khan on the day of the march on Islamabad.”
The PTI Punjab president alleged the authorities concerned stormed their camps in 11 districts of the province and removed them, besides arresting hundreds of workers. He said: Legal aid committees comprising the party’s lawyers’ wing members have also been constituted to provide legal assistance to the participants of the Azadi March.
Ijaz affirmed letters have been written to the Punjab chief secretary, the IGP, the Intelligence Bureau DG and the Islamabad IG and commissioner, seeking protection for the Azadi March,.
He asked the party workers who own gas and petrol stations to keep them open on August 14 for supplying fuel to the marchers as the government would shut down this important means of communication.
Meanwhile, PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi told The Nation on Thursday JI, which is their coalition partner in Khyber Pukhtunkhawa might announce joining the Azadi March soon.