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Pak government bans Imran Khan's mega rally, arrests supporters

Pak government bans Imran Khans mega rally, arrests supporters

Islamabad: All is not well with former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan

Even after his ouster months before, the erstwhile cricketer faces brickbats, amid his attempts to revive his political hopes.

Most recently on Tuesday, the Pakistan government banned him from holding a massive rally on May 25.

The government reportedly wanted to prevent Khan from propagating misleading agenda.

Meanwhile, more than 100 of his supporters were arrested overnight across the country.

Khan on Saturday exhorted his supporters to march peacefully to Islamabad on May 25, asking for the dissolution of the National Assembly as well as fresh polls.

The government rejected his demand for early polls asking him to wait until next year.

Peaceful protest is the right of everyone but they (supporters of Khan) are not coming for a peaceful protest. We would not have objected if they had not termed their demonstration as a bloody protest', Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah told the media here.

The minister said the government would not allow the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf to spread "chaos and disorder" in the guise of a protest march.

"They will be stopped so that they cannot propagate their misleading agenda, he said, adding that these PTI workers had moved from abuses to bullets.

The Interior Minister was referring to a police constable in Lahore who was killed at a raid to arrest supporters of Khan's party.

Sanaullah said the cabinet chose to ban the rally to prevent anarchy, as Khan's party failed to assure the administration that the rally would be peaceful.

As for the arrest of his supporters, the police confirmed the arrests were made at the behest of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) ruling coalition, and the clampdown.

On Monday, Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif alleged that Khan wanted to unleash a civil war like situation in the country.

According to Fawad Chaudhry, a spokesman for the Khan's Tehreek-e-Insaf party, police raids against their supporters started after midnight on Monday.

At a press conference in Peshawar on Tuesday, Khan vowed to carry on with the massive rally in Islamabad as planned despite the Pakistan government's ban.

I tell my supporters to reach Islamabad and I will also be there," he said, insisting he was not afraid of death and urged his followers to get ready for sacrifices" for the sake of Pakistan's sovereignty.

Khan also asked the powerful army to stop playing neutral and play its role in ending the current crisis.

Khan, the 69-year-old cricketer-turned-politician, has been adamant that he was ousted from power last month through an alleged US-backed vote of no-confidence since Washington did not like his Russia policy.

These claims were strongly refuted by the US.

Source: PTI

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