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‘Azadi March’ live updates: Imran Khan’s convoy enters Punjab as protesters try to wriggle out of roadblocks

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Tension gripped parts of the country, as police clashed with Pakistan PTI workers after authorities tried to block them from proceedings towards the capital, where former prime minister Imran Khan plans to hold a large political rally.

Khan is heading to Islamabad from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with a large caravan to demand the removal of the government and an immediate national election. He vows to hold the “biggest march” in the political history of Pakistan if the government does not agree to his demands. According to the latest update, Khan’s caravan has entered Punjab after supporters removed barricades from the Attock bridge.

Earlier today, following the directions of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the two sides also engaged in a two-hour dialogue, but no breakthrough could be reached, reported Geo News.

However, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb has denied reports of an agreement between the federal government and the PTI, calling the news “baseless”. 

Meanwhile, Senator Faisal Javed also confirmed that no agreement has been reached. 

Throughout the day, scuffles continue to break out in parts of Lahore, Punjab, between the police and the political workers, leading to the arrest of a few PTI leaders in the city.

In the meantime, law enforcement agencies are also on high alert under instructions from the government to take “all possible measures” to stop the PTI’s ‘Azadi March’ from proceeding. 

SC orders govt to provide PTI with a ground for jalsa

The Supreme Court directed the federal government to provide the PTI with the ground between the H-9 and G-9 areas of Islamabad to hold its public gathering.

When the hearing resumed after a break, the attorney-general told the three-member bench that the ground, which will be given to the PTI, only had the capacity to accommodate 10,000 people.

He also added that a Sunday bazaar and the Sirinigar Highway were close to the venue.

Hammad Azhar sustain injuries

Amid the shelling, former energy minister Hammad Azhar was also injured and was provided with basic medical treatment at a rural health clinic.

Taking to his official Twitter handle, the senior PTI leader recorded a video message claiming that the police have now resorted to direct attacks.

Earlier, in order to restrain Lahore’s rally from entering Islamabad, the police tried to arrest Azhar; however, party workers managed to save him.

Police arrested the district president of PTI Ali Asjad Malhi, among other party workers from Sialkot. The authorities managed to disperse the workers with the help of tear gas.

On his Twitter handle, Azhar wrote: “Heavy shelling on our rally near Kala Shah Kaku. But we will InshAllah overcome this obstacle too.”

The PTI leader had confirmed that failed attempts were being made for his arrest. He had also reported that the police have abused the workers and hundreds of shells had been fired.

Keep routes to hospitals open: interior minister

Amid the ongoing clashes in the federal capital, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah had directed the Islamabad police and administration to allow all government employees on duty to enter the federal capital. Meanwhile, he said media persons shouldn’t be stopped and routes heading towards hospitals should remain open.

In a statement, the interior minister said that the government will not tolerate terrorism in the guise of politics as police seized a huge cache of weapons from the residence of PTI leader in the provincial capital of Punjab ahead of their long march.

“The seizure of heavy arms and ammunition from the houses of PTI officials is evidence of a bloody march”, the federal minister had said.

The federal minister said that the PTI general secretary’s house is a depot of ammunition and the discovery of arms from the homes of PTI officials is proof of a bloody march. The nation has seen that from where did the bullet came which killed innocent police personnel.

“The constitution and the law will be strictly enforced and those who will take the law into their hands will be dealt with strictly,” he warned.

Meanwhile, after various attempts to arrest PTI leaders, Lahore police briefly detained Yasmeen Rashid and Andaleeb Abbasi. Both leaders were taken into custody as PTI workers tried to stop the law enforcers. They were, however, later released.

At Lahore’s Batti Chowk, the police resorted to tear gas shelling to disperse PTI workers when they removed barriers placed to block the routes.

The PTI’s Lahore chapter had asked its workers to gather at the Batti Chowk today from where they were to depart for Islamabad.

Images from the scuffle between police and PTI workers at Batti Chowk in Lahore. — Screengrabs
Images from the scuffle between police and PTI workers at Batti Chowk in Lahore. — Screengrabs

The party workers gathered at the intersection and clashed with the police when they removed barriers after which the police fired tear gas shells in order to clear the area.

Arrests so far

The police have so far arrested more than 10 PTI workers from Batti Chowk; meanwhile, police confirmed that some marchers have also been arrested from the Srinagar Highway. PTI workers have also been arrested from D-Chowk.

A senior police officer, on condition of anonymity, told Geo.tv, on condition of anonymity, that 212 PTI workers arrested so far in Lahore.

In a press conference, DIG Operations Lahore Sohail Chaudhry said that in the last few days the police had information that weapons were being brought to Lahore, which could be used to disturb the peace.

The senior cop said the police chased five cars near the motorway and then raided the home of Zubair Niazi, the PTI general secretary in Lahore. “At his home we found weapons. It seems apparent they were planning to use these weapons in the march,” he adds.

Meanwhile, police have arrested a total of nine PTI workers from Numaish Chowrangi, including three women.

Police attack Yasmeen Rashid’s car

Former health minister Yasmeen Rashid heads toward Islamabad after police attack on her car. — Twitter/@PTIofficial
Former health minister Yasmeen Rashid heads toward Islamabad after police attack on her car. — Twitter/@PTIofficial

The police attacked former health minister Yasmeen Rashid’s car, breaking her windscreen in an attempt to stop her from moving forward.

According to footage circulating on social media, the police used batons to stop her; however, the car continued to move ahead despite losing balance.

Earlier, the police had encircled her car when a PTI supporter came forward and verbally abused the officials. Meanwhile, Yasmeen tried stopping the police from taking away her car keys.

Meanwhile, Rashid in a statement, confirmed that the windshield of her vehicle was broken by the police. She said that she faced difficulty in leaving the area, but is now on the way to Islamabad.

“This government has lost its senses. I am an 80-year-old woman. Why are they threatening me? How is stopping a peaceful protest democratic?” she questioned.

Rashid added that despite everything, the enthusiasm of the workers was better than ever.

‘No chance of deal with govt’: Imran Khan

PTI Chairman Imran Khan leads the rally toward Islamabad on a container with other senior leaders of the party. — Twitter/@PTIofficial
PTI Chairman Imran Khan leads the rally toward Islamabad on a container with other senior leaders of the party. — Twitter/@PTIofficial

After reaching Swabi, PTI Chairman Imran Khan addressed the people heading toward the federal capital. In it, he denied all reports of striking an agreement with the government. “We are heading towards Islamabad and there is no chance of settling an agreement with the coalition government.”

“We will stay in Islamabad until the government decided to dissolve assemblies and announces election dates,” he reiterated, adding that they will reach D-Chowk and no hurdle can stop them.

Speaking to a charged crowd, he called the incumbent government a “group of American slaves”. The former prime minister acknowledged that his party workers and leaders were being arrested across the country, while several others were being harassed.

‘Our protest will remain peaceful like always’

Imran maintained that staging a protest was the party’s right, adding that he would unite the country and make it a nation.

“All Pakistanis, women, children, families, youth, lawyers, retired army officers, everyone has to come out for real independence,” he said.

The PTI chairman had earlier announced to lead the march from Wali interchange, where he landed in a helicopter. In a video message recorded before leaving the former prime minister said: “This is a decisive moment for Pakistan.”

Urging the people to join him in the “Azadi March” he had assured his supporters that PTI will snatch its freedom.

Khan had urged people to carry the Pakistan flag along with them as this is the fight for “real freedom.”

Govt reportedly plans to detain Imran Khan 

The federal government is reportedly planning to detain the party chairman Imran Khan and his associates on their way from Peshawar despite the government’s decision to disallow a long march.

The News reported a top security official as saying that the action will be taken in a bid to stop what Imran Khan is saying will be the “biggest procession” in Pakistan’s history.

On Tuesday, the government decided to use all its force to foil PTI’s “Azadi March”, with the police continuing its crackdown against PTI workers and officials. Section 144 has been imposed in Lahore, Karachi and the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi and the roads leading up to the capital city from different parts of the country have been blocked.

Islamabad braces for closure

Shipping containers used to block the area leading towards the Red Zone are seen ahead of the planned protest march by ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan, in Islamabad, on Tuesday. — Reuters
Shipping containers used to block the area leading towards the Red Zone are seen ahead of the planned protest march by ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan, in Islamabad, on Tuesday. — Reuters

The local authorities have barricaded all entry points into Islamabad with heavy shipping containers to obstruct the way of PTI marchers.

The barricades have been placed for two primary tasks: first to contain the long march and second to ensure fool-proof security of the Red Zone. All the roads leading to Red Zone have been sealed, except Margalla Road. Containers have also been placed at D-Chowk to seal the area around the Old Parade Ground and Parliamentary Lodges.

Thousands of policemen, including the Anti-Riot Unit, Counter-Terrorism Force, Anti-Terrorism Force, and police reserve along with contingents from Rangers are being deployed to maintain the law and order situation in the city.

GT Road, Motorway blocked to stop long march

Meanwhile, barriers have been erected at several points on the Grand Trunk (GT) Road and Peshawar-Islamabad Motorway as well. The authorities have blocked all the land routes between Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab by putting huge piles of mud, containers, ballast stones, cement blocks and iron barriers and fences in many places.

Heavy contingents of the personnel of stick-wielding police force and Rangers have also been deputed at GT Road and Peshawar-Islamabad Motorway to stop the way of PTI workers towards Islamabad.

Roads blocked in Karachi

Meanwhile, PTI supporters from Karachi are expected to stage demonstrations at Numaish Chowrangi; however, according to the police, preparations have been completed to stop them.

Two prisoner vans have been kept on standby in case of possible arrests. While lady cops have also reached the site.

According to traffic police, MA Jinnah road and its adjoining areas have been blocked. Amid roads that have been blocked include:

  • The road leading toward People’s Chowrangi from Numaish Chowarnagi
  • Corridor 3 New Preedy Street from Saddar Dawakhana road leading towards People Chowrangi
  • Nizami Road (heading from Lines areas to Numaish Chowarngi ) has also been blocked
  • The road leading towards Numaish Chowrangi from Capri Cinema has been closed; traffic is being directed toward Soldier Bazar.
  • Traffic heading from Society Signal toward Numaish Chowrangi is being diverted to Kashmir Road

Islamabad Police issues traffic plan

‘Azadi March’ live updates: Imran Khans convoy enters Punjab as protesters try to wriggle out of roadblocks

The traffic police have issued a traffic plan to facilitate the public. According to an official update, entry and exit points to the Red Zone have been closed at Ayub chowk, NADRA chowk, Express chowk, and Serena chowk. 

Those who wish to enter or exit the red zone can only use Margalla road.

  • Ataturk Avenue has been closed from Nazimud Deen T-Cross to Geo Chowk
  • Nazimud Deen Road has been closed from Zoom petrol pump to Ataturk Avenue
  • Jinnah Avenue has been blocked from China Chowk to Express Chowk
  • Murree Road is blocked for both sides of traffic towards Faizabad from Rawalpindi
  • Islamabad Expressway has been closed for incoming traffic to Islamabad at the Gulberg Green Bridge

Latest News

Maj. Jamal Sheeran gave his life as one of the Immortal Martyrs in defence of the homeland

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Major Jamal Sheeran Shaheed, a Balochstani, gave his life while serving to defend the homeland from terrorists’ hateful plans.

July 17, 2017, marked the acceptance of martyrdom by Major Jamal Sheeran Baloch.

In the Kech District of Balochistan, he was from Turbat Area.

The martyr’s family, as well as officers and troops from FC Balochistan and the Pakistan Army, paid tribute to the martyr’s heroic sacrifice by reciting Fatiha and laying flower wreaths.

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Entertainment

Resham replies to criticism about her charitable activity, saying, “Let Allah decide.”

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Resham addressed her haters in an interview, refuting their claims that she uses money obtained illegally to support charitable causes.

Apart from her exceptional acting abilities, Resham is also renowned for her empathy.

Her significant charitable activities are well known.

Online criticism has been directed at Resham, despite her commendable attempts to promote poor areas.

Nevertheless, she decides to keep an optimistic outlook and is unmoved by the disparaging remarks.

“People on social media say all kinds of things, like she’s making food for charity out of ill-gotten money,” the woman said in response to the criticism. “But I say, let Allah decide.”

Regardless of the doubts she faces, her steadfast faith and fortitude enable her to carry on her charitable activities.

Resham has been cooking and giving food to the underprivileged for the past 20 years on her own.

In order to underscore the duration of her dedication, she said, “This has been going on continuously for the past six years, all 12 months.”

Her declaration demonstrates her steadfast support for the less fortunate and emphasises her continuous commitment to charitable activity.

Her supporters encouraged Resham to keep doing her good deeds and expressed gratitude for her charity endeavours.

That’s the cruellest remark, someone said. Do not let such hurtful remarks get to Resham’s feelings.

You are an amazing person, and Allah will bless you for all of your good deeds.

“Your work is much appreciated. It is the people of this globe that you are considering.

Another said, “No matter what one does, people will always criticise.” Other than that, they are unemployed. Resham, you’re doing amazing. Allah is indeed more knowledgeable.

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Business

Moody’s says the IMF programme will increase Pakistan’s foreign financing.

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Moody’s, a reputable international rating agency, has stated that Pakistan’s chances of acquiring funding will increase as a result of the recent agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which offers dependable sources for that purpose from both friendly countries and international financial institutions.

According to a recent Moody’s analysis on Pakistan’s economy, social unrest and tensions could result from Pakistan’s ongoing inflation. The country’s economic reforms may be hampered by increased taxes and potential changes to the energy tariff, it continued.

Moody’s, on the other hand, agrees that the coalition government headed by Shehbaz Sharif of the PML-N is in danger of failing to secure an election mandate, which may potentially undermine the successful and long-lasting execution of economic reforms.

The government’s capacity to proceed with economic changes may be hampered by societal unrest and poor governance, according to Moody’s.

In order to appease the IMF by fulfilling a prerequisite for authorising a rescue package, the government raised the basic tariff on electricity, which coincided with the most recent increase in fuel prices announced on Monday. This report was released by Moody’s.

Food costs have increased in the nation, where the vast majority is experiencing an unprecedented crisis due to the high cost of living, following the government’s earlier presentation of a budget that included a large increase in income tax for the salaried classes and the implementation of GST on commodities like milk.

The most recent comments were made following Islamabad’s achievement of a staff-level agreement for a $7 billion contract that spans 37 months and is contingent upon final approval by the IMF Executive Board.

It states that Pakistan will need foreign financing totaling about $21 billion in 2024–2025 and $23 billion in 2025–2026, meaning that the country’s present $9.4 billion in reserves won’t be sufficient to cover its needs.

Therefore, according to Moody’s, Pakistan is in an alarming position with regard to its external debt, and the next three to five years will be extremely difficult for the formulation and implementation of policies.

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