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Imran Khan’s party denied permission to hold protest rally in Islamabad

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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani authorities on Sunday rejected a request of jailed former premier Imran Khan‘s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party to hold a protest rally in Islamabad against the alleged rigging in the February 8 general elections due to security reasons. The beleaguered party had asked the capital city administration to allow it to hold a public gathering on March 23 or March 30, the first such event since the February 8 elections.Since the first option for the rally already lapsed, it was trying to get permission to hold a protest march on March 30.
Islamabad Deputy Commissioner (DC) Irfan Memon turned down the request given the “law and order” situation. He also stated that the party had already violated NOCs (no objection certificates) issued on earlier occasions.
Two days ago, Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Aamer Farooq directed the capital’s DC to decide on the matter and present a report in this regard.
The party through its regional president Amir Masood Mughal had this month sought permission for a public gathering either on March 23 or March 30, at Parade Ground, F9 Park or D Chowk at 10 am.
The party had also made requests to the Islamabad DC on March 15 and March 18 for securing a NOC, but no response was received until March 21, prompting it to move the IHC to intervene as the district administration was not responding to requests for the rally.
The party has allegedly been facing hurdles to continue its political activities. A similar move to hold a rally in Rawalpindi on February 5 was rejected by the Rawalpindi district administration with the plea that it might affect the law-and-order situation ahead of the elections.
Khan’s party has claimed that it won 180 seats in the National Assembly by way of independent candidates backed by the party. However, the rigging ensured that the number was reduced to 92 seats only, thus robbing its chance of coming back to power.
Ahead of the public rally in Islamabad, the PTI will hold a press briefing on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) package and, what it claimed, its negative impacts on the masses and the economy on March 25.
Cash-strapped Pakistan’s standby USD 3 billion arrangement with the global lender expires on April 11, and the two sides reached a staff-level agreement regarding the disbursal of the final tranche of USD 1.1 billion earlier this week.
Pakistan will discuss an Extended Fund Facility (EFF) with the IMF in Washington next month, Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb said earlier today, as the country looks to alleviate a full-scale economic crisis. The fund has advised Pakistan to increase revenue generation.
In addition to this, Khan’s party plans to hold a public rally in Karachi on April 21.

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