RAWALPINDI: The local administration of Rawalpindi has asked the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) to change the venue of its planned sit-in from Faizabad to some other place in the city in order to avoid any inconvenience to the visiting English cricket team who are due to play a Test match at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium from Dec 1, sources told Dawn on Wednesday.
The request for the change of venue to the PTI had been made by Deputy Commissioner (DC) Rawalpindi Shoaib Ali during a meeting with party’s secretary general Asad Umar and president of the party’s Rawalpindi chapter Wasiq Qayyum Abbasi here on Wednesday.
However, the PTI leader had informed the DC that he would convey the proposal for a new venue to his party leadership and would respond accordingly, the sources said.
According to the sources, the administration had offered the PTI that it could hold the protest either at the historic Liaquat Bagh or the 6th Road Flyover as the two places are away from the cricketing venue.
The administration has made the request to the PTI in the wake of the reports that the PTI may prolong its protest after converting it into a sit-in. Moreover, though the Test match is scheduled to start on Dec 1, the two teams will be required to be transported to the stadium for practice sessions before formal start of the match.
PTI Chairman Imran Khan has given the call to its workers to reach Rawalpindi on Nov 26 in connection with the Haqeeqi Azadi March which he had begun from Lahore on Oct 28.
The PTI’s Rawalpindi president had submitted an application to the DC on Nov 20, seeking for provision of security and other facilities for the planned Nov 26 public gathering or sit-in at Faizabad Intersection on Murree Road. The intersection falls on the way to the cricket stadium from the hotel in Islamabad where the two cricket teams will be staying. The cricket stadium is situated less than three kilometers from Faizabad.
Moreover, the district administration has also asked the PTI leader that the venue of the proposed public gathering or sit-in should not be close to government buildings or sensitive installations in the prevailing security situation.
England’s cricket team is expected to arrive in Islamabad on Nov 27 — a day after the PTI’s planned public gathering or sit-in.