Court halts march; Imran, Qadri refuse to stop

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday restrained the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Pakistan Awami Tehreek of Tahirul Qadri from launching the “Azadi March” and the “Inqilab March” and from staging a sit-in in Islamabad in an unconstitutional way.
The LHC order came just a day before the scheduled march of the PTI and PAT. Meanwhile, PTI Chairman Imran Khan has announced that he will hold a peaceful Azadi March under the law, constitution and democracy, and he will reach Islamabad on August 14 (today) in any case. While talking to media at his residence in Zaman Part on Wednesday Imran referred to the order of the full bench of the Lahore High Court and said the court has only restrained his party from launching any unconstitutional march so he would launch a peaceful march, under the constitution and in compliance with the court orders.

“Under which law 300 PTI workers have been detained by the government,” he asked. “We have not done anything unconstitutional,” he stated while adding that the PTI would present its demands within the framework of law and constitution. He also answered some queries about his demand of a technocrat government for an interim period while the next general elections are held in the country, and also Javed Hashmi’s differences with him. While denying demanding a technocrat government the PTI chief said he had only called for a government of “non-political people”. Imran also said that he was ready to hold negotiations with the authorities on his demands but after his Azadi March reached Islamabad.
Imran denied knowledge of Javed Hashmi’s alleged differences with him and confirmed that he (Hashmi) would not go against the PTI leadership as he was the main person organising and mobilising the party workers for the Azadi March. 
About the offer by Prime Minister Nawaz Shairf to constitute a commission of Supreme Court judges’ to probe election riggings, Imran said the proposed commission would have no value if it is not independent. He also criticised the release of PML-N worker Gullu Butt, who is an accused in the Lahore’s Model Town clash between PAT workers and police, on bail by the Lahore High Court despite sound evidence against him.
Imran announced that he is launching the Azadi March against the system because it is not giving justice to the common man. He said that he would start the Azadi March from his residence at Zaman Park, Lahore, to Islamabad at 10am on Thursday (today). He also promised that his march would remain peaceful, saying it would proceed on the GT Road in a peaceful manner. Thousands of party activists including a good number of female workers have gathered outside the residence of Imran Khan in Zaman Park to go to Islamabad.
The participants of the march have also prepared their luggage with necessities for a long journey from Lahore to Islamabad. The city of Lahore has been decorated with banners, posters and party flags, especially The Mall. According to well-placed sources in the PTI, Imran Khan has succeeded to impress his party’s president, Javed Hashmi to join the Azadi March after clarifying his demand of the technocrat government as well as his assurance not to go to derail the democratic system in the country. The sources confirmed that Javed Hashmi has agreed with Imran Khan on his political moves and motives. 
Meanwhile, addressing a press conference at the Minhajul Quran Secretariat in Lahore on Wednesday, PAT chief Tahirul Qadri reassured that his party’s march will be peaceful and per the constitution. He claimed that it was aimed at enforcing the constitution. Referring to the Lahore High Court’s ruling regarding the removal of barricades and containers placed on the routes of the march in and around Model Town in Lahore, Qadri said that Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Punjab and federal governments have committed contempt of court by not removing the barricades.
Commenting on the statement of Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in which he praised the Punjab Police’s performance of the past one week, Qadri said the minister is glorifying the police which has not only besieged the Model Town but is “also responsible for the disappearance of hundreds of PAT supporters, including women and children”. 

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