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Tensions high in Punjab; Imran sets out to lead PTI’s Azadi March

All eyes are on Islamabad as the city braces itself for heated political activity with the PTI workers and leaders heading towards the federal capital from various parts of the country despite the government’s instructions no to.

Law enforcement is on high alert as the government is taking all possible measures to stop the PTI’s ‘Azadi March’.

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.

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.

Meanwhile, taking to his Twitter handle, former energy minister Hammad Azhar announced that he has reached Batti Chowk.

The police also encircled the car of former health minister Yasmeen Rashid in an attempt to stop her from moving forward.

According to the video circulating on social media, a PTI supporter came forward and verbally abused the police officials. Meanwhile, Yasmeen tried stopping the police from taking away her car keys.

According to reports, 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.

Imran Khan reaches Wali interchange
The PTI chairman, meanwhile, has 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 assured his supporters that PTI will snatch its 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
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 at 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, in Karachi, a sit-in is expected at Numaish Chowrangi. 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

Islamabad Police issues traffic plan
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 Gulburg Green Bridge

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