Bani Gala ‘under siege’, Imran to use Heli

PTI chief Imran Khan weighed his options to thwart attempts by police and FC to stop him from addressing a political rally with Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed today. Law enforcers laid siege to the Bani Gala residence of Imran Khan late Thursday night hours after a crackdown was launched against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf supporters.

Sources disclosed that due to the presence of police and FC personnel outside his residence, the PTI chairman is considering traveling outside via a helicopter. The helicopter of a private company had also been booked for the PTI chief.

Police detained dozens of PTI workers — including women — for violating Section 144 which the administration had imposed in the morning. Television footage showed police scuffling with Imran’s supporters before bundling them into prison vans and whisking them away.

It was also learnt from sources that Imran called an important meeting of his party’s leaders in Bani Gala during which it was deliberated on how the party chairman could evade a potential house arrest. Imran issued directives for all party leaders and workers to reach Bani Gala on Friday. It was decided during the meeting that if police decided to place the PTI chairman under house arrest, Imran Khan would come out of his Bani Gala residence with the protocol of his party workers.

PTI leader Shah Farman had been tasked by Imran to arrive at Bani Gala on Friday with a large number of workers and supporters. Party leaders who had attended the meeting had decided to stay in Bani Gala for the night.

PTI chief Imran Khan is inside his Bani Gala residence at the moment. Outside, police have already started to close all entry routes to the place by placing containers. Meanwhile, containers were also placed outside the residence of AML chief Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad, who is a strong opponent of the government and a close ally of Imran Khan.  According to sources, police officials have been tasked to prevent any Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf worker from entering Khan’s residence.

Lal Haveli, the residence of Awami Muslim League Chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, was also reportedly sealed to stop the most vocal critic of the government from staging a rally on Friday where Imran is also scheduled to show up.

“The whole area is under surveillance of law enforcement agencies, while deployment of law enforcers is building up in front of the residence of Chairman Imran Khan,” said Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who is present in Bani Gala along with top leaders of PTI, including Jahangir Tareen, Asad Umar. “Nobody is allowed in or out.”

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