Defiant Imran vows Sialkot jalsa will go ahead after police action

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A defiant Imran Khan on Saturday vowed his planned rally in Sialkot would go ahead hours after police cracked down on arrangements on a premises it said belonged to the Christian community.

Earlier today, authorities stopped PTI members from erecting structures in preparation for the rally in Sialkot’s CTI ground, DawnNewsTV reporting that police fired tear gas and baton-charged party activists who were resisting the move.

The rally — in which the PTI chairman was to deliver a speech as part of his series of jalsas culminating in the party’s “Azadi March” on Islamabad — was set to be held later in the day.

Television footage showed police personnel at the venue, as people, some with PTI flags around their necks, stood atop a crane in what appeared to be an attempt to prevent it from dismantling the structures being set up for the rally.

Clouds of tear gas could also be seen in the footage, while another scene showed police rounding up some individuals.

Taking to Twitter, Imran said “let there be no doubt” he would be going to Sialkot today.

“What imported govt did in Sialkot against our leadership & workers is outrageous, but not unexpected. This bunch of criminals out on bail and their convict mafia boss in London have always used fascist tactics against opponents when they are in power.”

He said they “use and abuse” democracy when in opposition and “totally destroy all democratic norms when in power”, but the people had now risen against them.

He concluded his thread by saying his government “never stopped any of their jalsas, sit-ins and rallies “because we are committed to democracy”. He added: “I will be in Sialkot today and I am calling on all our people to come out and protest in their areas/cities after Isha prayers against this fascist imported government.”