Pakistan's ousted prime minister Imran Khan on Saturday urged his supporters not to back off "under any circumstance" and said that "reaction" to the "atrocities done to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)" would come from the public at the party's Minar-e-Pakistan rally tonight amid a "threat alert" issued by the interim Punjab government, Pakistan based Dawn newspaper reported.
Imran Khan was referring to clashes that erupted between the police and his party workers who gathered outside his residence on March 18 in Zaman Park to foil his arrest in the Toshakhana case.
Khan made the remarks while speaking to reporters on reaching a Lahore Anti-Terrorism Court to secure interim bail in three terrorism cases.
Khan while talking to the media outside the court, said a public "reaction would come today to whatever method they (the government) will use."
"We will not back off under any circumstance," the PTI chief said.
In the alert, Punjab government has said that terrorists, carrying explosive material, have reached Lahore and will either target political rallies or law enforcers deployed for the security of those events.
As the party prepares to hold the gathering, the government has placed containers on the way leading to Minar-e-Pakistan, leading to hurdles for people seeking to partake in the jalsa.
Prior to the PTI rally, internet outage was reported in Lahore's Gulberg, Minar-e-Pakistan, Data Darbar, Lari Adda and nearby areas.
PTI also shared footage through party's Twitter handle showing party workers and supporters had packed the venue in anticipation of Imran, who reached Minar-e-Pakistan a little before midnight.
Imran Khan further added: "I am saying today, that they (the government) will see the largest rally at Minar-e-Pakistan in the country's history."
The PTI chief went on to claim, "1,600 workers of ours have been taken away only because they want to fill our Minar-e-Pakistan rally today," Dawn reported.
Imran castigated the government for "using every method to crush the PTI" and for "torturing and picking up people", according to Dawn.
Khan further said: "Atrocities are being committed but this is a fight and a jihad for haqeeqi azaadi (real freedom) [so] sacrifices will need to be given. I am also ready for this and my entire team is ready as well."
Meanwhile, Pakistan police on Saturday launched a crackdown on party workers and blocked the road leading to the location, ahead of the PTI's public gathering at Minar-e-Pakistan, Geo News reported.
The routes leading to the Minar-e-Pakistan from Ravi Bridge and Railway Station have been blocked and containers have been placed at the Shah Alam Market.
PTI has also claimed that their 50-plus workers from different areas of Rahim Yar Khan, while 26 workers including PTI leader Javed Akhtar Ansari's son were arrested in Multan, Geo News reported.
The PTI claimed that many workers have also been detained from Lodhran and Bhakkar.
Earlier today, Imran Khan tweeted, "Tonight will be our sixth jalsa at Minar-e-Pakistan and my heart tells me it will break all records. I am inviting everyone in Lahore to attend after the Tarawih (special Prayer Muslims perform only in the month of Ramadan) prayers. I will give my vision of Haqeeqi Azadi and how we will pull Pak out of the mess cabal of crooks have put our country in."
"They will put all sorts of hurdles to prevent people from attending, but I want to remind our ppl that it is their fundamental right to attend a political gathering. Everyone must assert their right as people of a free nation that won its independence & come to Minar e Pakistan," he added. (ANI)