ISLAMABAD - Chairman Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan on Sunday gave the cold shoulder to his close aides over their failure to gather one million people in Azadi March and decided to play his final cards for face saving, The Nation has learnt.

Those who were denied meeting with the PTI chairman were Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Jameel Abbasi, a local businessman and Khan’s close friend.

According to sources, Qureshi was allowed to enter the main gate but he came out just after 20 minutes. Sources claimed that Qureshi was sent back with the message that Khan was sleeping and he (Qureshi) should be present at the sit-in venue.

Jameel Abbasi was not even allowed to cross the entrance gate. Making some desperate calls he waited for a couple of minutes at around 06:00pm but he was sent back by the gatekeeper.

“I have talked to my security chief and he says he had been told that you should go to the sit-in venue,” the gatekeeper told Abbasi in a firm voice. Disappointed Abbasi went back.

All the guests were not denied entry at main gate, as there were some lucky fellows. Among the successful were men in a Land Cruiser jeep and a woman in a white Nissan car.

“They are personal guests. For party leaders and workers I have clear instructions to sent them back, no matter who they are,” the gatekeeper said, according to sources.

Earlier, Khan has claimed that one million people will participate in Azadi March, including one hundred thousand motorbikes. But according to estimates of a civilian spy agency, when Khan’s caravan entered Gujranwala, there were 719 vehicles and less then 500 motorbikes in the rally. This made Khan furious and he reprimanded his lieutenants.

According to sources, this was the reason that Khan left the stage on Friday morning and told his aides to bring out people. On Saturday, Khan was disappointed again with a small crowd and he burst out at his aides.

“You have been saying you will bring large crowd from Lahore, KP and twin cities. Where is that crowd you have been spending on?” sources quoted Khan yelling at his party officials.

It was also learnt that during his stay at his residence either Khan has been making some personal calls in his secure room or he has been resting.

According to sources, Khan has finally realised that his Azadi March has been flopped and he has limited options for face saving. He knows if he calls off the sit-in now, it would be his political suicide, so he is gaining some time and waiting for some respectable options, one of Khan’s close aides said.

Khan not only ignored his party aides but also ignored media persons queued up in front of his villa when he left for the sin-in venue at around 6:50pm.

“I can’t talk now,” he told media with his hand gesture and his small convoy of two land cruisers and two police cars disappeared on zigzag roads.

Media is not allowed to cross the first barrier placed on the road, which leads to his house.

No PTI official was available for comments.