Former Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was ousted by opposition parties through a no-confidence motion, addresses the supporters of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party during a public rally in Jhelum on May 10, 2022. Image Credit: AFP

Islamabad: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) changed the venue for its Sialkot rally after the police stopped the PTI workers from a public rally at the previous venue claiming that they did not have permission to hold the rally. The venue was changed from CTI ground to VIP cricket ground in Sialkot.

PTI workers said they were stopped by police and the district administration of Sialkot from arrangements for the rally at the CTI ground with law enforcement agencies resorting to tear gas and baton beatings to disperse the party supporters who resisted the police. During the confrontation, the police arrested PTI leader Usman Dar and several other party activists who were later released.

The conflict occurred ahead of the PTI rally in Sialkot which is considered a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) stronghold.

The former prime minister and PTI chairman Imran Khan, who was to address the rally on Saturday evening, said he would still visit Sialkot. “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 the government. Khan said, “what government did in Sialkot against PTI leadership and workers is outrageous but not unexpected.”

Minister for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb said the government did not prevent PTI to hold its public gathering in Sialkot and claimed that PTI was offered an alternative place for the public gathering after the objection of the local Christian community who refused to grant approval to use CTI ground for the rally.

Imran Khan has been holding public rallies since he was ousted from power in a no-confidence vote on April 10. The former premier alleged the no-trust vote campaign to oust him was backed by the US since he was pursuing an “independent foreign policy.”