Leaders of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and the Awami Muslim League (AML) are sharing a stage at Liaquat Bagh in Rawalpindi, where a large number supporters have turned up on the call of Imran Khan and Sheikh Rashid for an "Azadi jalsa".
Sheikh Rashid can be seen on stage, while the ground appears filled to capacity despite a downpour that has been lashing the city since the evening.
PTI chief Imran Khan, who has arrived, is expected to address the crowd at Liaquat Bagh after a gap of six years.
Ahead of the gathering, the PTI started distributing pamphlets, titled "We will tell you why you were disqualified", via a private helicopter at Liaquat Bagh and nearby areas.
Earlier, Zahid Kazmi, PTI district president, had claimed that Rawalpindi was the PTI’s fort "which will be proved on August 13." He explained that Imran Khan had not announced his plan for coming to Rawalpindi to celebrate Independence Day which is why a separate rally was being planned.
AML President Sheikh Rashid Ahmed had expressed hope for the success of his public meeting, saying that the basic aim of the public meeting was to highlight the corruption of the ruling elites. “Panama Papers leaks exposed the ruling elites and time has come to get the answer from them about the illegal money transferred abroad,” he had said.
Rashid accuses govt of having 'double standards'
A day earlier, Sheikh Rashid had claimed that the Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) tried to stop his party workers from installing a sound system at the venue.
He told Dawn that the PML-N provincial government had double standards as it allowed Nawaz Sharif to interrupt the movement of citizens on Murree Road on Aug 9 and was now trying to stop the public meeting of Imran Khan.
“On Saturday morning, we were installing a sound system at Liaquat Bagh when PHA officials reached there and tried to stop us. But due to the resistance of the AML workers, the officials went back.”
He said arrangements had been completed to welcome Imran Khan at the public gathering on Sunday night, adding that the district administration was informed to make arrangements for Khan's security.
The two parties had installed banners and posters on Murree Road for the public meeting, but the local administration had removed them within an hour saying that the organisers had not obtained any permission.
“Our banners were removed from Murree Road soon after they were installed. However, PML-N’s banners are still installed on the pillars of the metro bus elevated road,” PTI's district president had alleged, saying that the PTI had submitted an application to the district administration about the rally but the party local leaders were informed that it had been forwarded to the home department and intelligence agencies for a clearance.