Imran Khan, a former prime minister, claims that the PTI’s Jail Bharo Tehreek (court arrest drive), which started in Lahore, aims to combat the “assault” on the party’s fundamental rights and the economic “meltdown.”
As of yet, no arrests have been reported.
The PTI leader stated in a string of tweets on Wednesday: “Today we launch our Jail Bharo campaign for Haqeeqi Azadi for two primary reasons.
“One, it is a peaceful, nonviolent protest against the assault on our fundamental rights, which are guaranteed by the Constitution. We are dealing with fake FIRs and NAB cases, torture in detention, and assaults on journalists and social media influencers.
Second, the campaign was against the “economic meltdown brought on by cabal of crooks who have money laundered billions in looted wealth and obtained NROs for themselves while crushing the people, especially the poor and middle class, under the burden of spiralling inflation and rising unemployment,” continued Imran.
As the movement started in the Punjab, PTI’s official Twitter account released images and videos of party leaders gathering at Lahore’s Charing Cross, including Asad Umar and Azam Swati.
Separately, the ex-premier urged people to march to the streets for “real freedom” in a video message posted on PTI’s official Twitter account.
Really, this campaign will lead you to a Pakistan that is liberated and content. And only until your fundamental rights are upheld by the government will this happen, he continued, noting that the Prison Bharo Tehreek “is the name of jihad.”
Imran added that Pakistan will reach “real freedom” sooner the more people took part in the drive.
In Qureshi’s words, “establish tradition.”
Qureshi claimed that Imran advised him not to give himself in for arrest because he was the “number two leader” after the party president, but Qureshi chose to “create a tradition” that the party leaders should be the ones to be arrested first rather than the workers.
When he explained the motivation behind the party’s activity, he also referred to the purported campaign the PML-N is waging against the judiciary.
“The PML-N leadership launched an unprecedented onslaught on the judiciary.
“I humbly ask the legal community, bar councils, and bar chambers to speak up and take part in the situation because they have a responsibility to do so.
‘All arrangements are finished’
PTI Ejaz Chaudhry, a senator and the movement’s main proponent, declared that all preparations for the “court arrest drive” were finished.
Chaudhry stated in a statement today that “our senior leaders will surrender along with 200 party workers.”
According to him, the movement was “a means to ultimate freedom.”
According to the PTI leader, a sizable number of individuals were signing up with the party to participate in the push. The country is desperate to free itself of foreign leadership.
‘Many wants to go jail’
Fawad Chaudhry, the leader of the PTI, earlier declared that the party’s leadership was prepared for the judicial arrest movement. Asad Umar and Shah Mahmood Qureshi claimed that they would show up for arrest on the first day of the protest.
The first day of the movement would begin with a gathering to recognise party members. Following the meeting, the party supporters would proceed down Prison Road to The Mall, where Section 144 is in effect, where they would present themselves for arrest. The gathering at Charing Cross in front of the Punjab Assembly would change into a sit-in if the government refuses to detain the PTI activists.
The Jail Bharo Tehreek’s focal point, Senator Ejaz Chaudhry, has stated that although the party was only looking for 200 volunteers on the first day of the drive, more than 2,000 had already joined up. He declared that those party officials who would run in the next by-elections under the PTI platform would not join the campaign.
‘Enactment of Section 144 in Lahore’
To prevent any sort of gatherings, sit-ins, or processions, the Punjab government has enacted Section 144 on The Mall, Gulberg Main Boulevard, outside the Punjab Civil Secretariat, and its surrounding roadways.
Rana Sanaullah, the interior minister, had earlier claimed that the PTI’s arrest campaign was intended to sow political unrest and a state of lawlessness in the nation. According to him, the PTI is generating drama with the “court arrest drive” in order to attract media attention.
The group made the decision that the criminals would be apprehended and that the nation’s law and order would be preserved at all costs.
The participants concurred that “the arrest of women and low-wage workers would be prevented.” The minister stated that miscreants’ records would be kept and that police character certifications would list their misdeeds.
In my opinion, there wouldn’t be any arrests: Khawaja Saad
Khawaja Saad Rafique, the leader of the PML-N and the minister for railways, declared on Wednesday that if he had his way, he would not detain even one PTI supporter.
In Lahore, he told reporters, “I never advocate political workers going to jail, but if someone is forcing it, then morally the leader should be the first to yield.”
Saad said that party leader Nawaz Sharif was imprisoned for a considerable amount of time under retired general Pervez Musharraf’s rule. Nawaz and his family spent time in jail even under this unexpected martial law.
He argued, however, that Imran was inciting his supporters to enter prison while he himself was seeking bail.
“The provincial administration has the right to decide how to treat the demonstrators, but if it were up to me, the police wouldn’t be present when people showed up for arrests,” the speaker said.
Afterwards, he continued, “they would have just wandered around and ultimately gone home.”
The PML-N leader added that Imran’s struggles were insignificant in comparison to those Nawaz and his family endured.
“We have been imprisoned for months… Ever witness someone crying? They don’t have to confront what we did, but does he [Imran] even have a shred of shame in him? On the other hand, they begin to cry within days, and they haven’t even gone through a tenth of what we did.