PTI workers, police in hours-long clashes, as law enforcers reach Zaman Park to arrest Imran
A large number of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) workers clashed with Lahore and Islamabad police teams at Zaman Park, who came to arrest PTI chief Imran Khan in Toshakhana case in compliance with the non-bailable arrest warrants issued by the Islamabad District and Sessions Court.
Simultaneously, Imran Khan challenged the arrest warrant in the Islamabad High Court. The application seeks suspension of the arrest warrant.
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A heavy contingent of police had earlier reached Khan’s residence to arrest him and present him before the court.
To defend their party chief, a large number of workers were told to gather outside his Zaman Park residence. The party activists were reportedly armed with wooden clubs and catapults.
In the ensuing clashes between the two sides, a policeman was seriously injured when PTI workers pelted the security men with stones. The cop was reportedly injured in the eye.
Later, several PTI activists were reportedly arrested over the violence.
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The clashes continued as the police teams reached the entrance to the PTI chief’s house, while workers kept pelting them with stones from inside. Police also resorted to firing water canons at the PTI activists.
Four vehicles of Rangers personnel and a heavy contingent of anti-riot police also arrived at Canal Road and outside Zaman Park to maintain law and order.
Also, Islamabad DIG (Operations) Shahzad Bukhari was taken to Services Hospital in an ambulance, as his condition deteriorated owing to the tear-gas shelling.
The officer received injuries on his leg and head.
PTI workers also set fire to several banners and posters, creating an atmosphere of arson.
The clashes between police and PTI activists at Zaman Park continued until late at night, with intermittent stone-pelting and shelling.
Helicopter hovering over Zaman Park
A helicopter was seen hovering over Imran Khan’s residence. Reportedly, the chopper was monitoring the situation on the ground.
Sources in the Interior Minister say Imran Khan will be transferred to Islamabad by helicopter after his arrest.
Transferring him from GT Road or motorway will create a law and order situation, the sources added.
Imran Khan will be safely transported to Islamabad, the ministry sources say.
The decision to deploy a helicopter was made on the basis of the ever-changing situation.
Water canons, armored vehicles, tear gas and baton charge
The law enforcers arrived at Imran’s residence with armored personnel carriers following extensive consultations between Lahore and Islamabad police teams, after which it was decided that the court order will be complied with.
The Punjab police sought more water cannons on both sides of the Canal Road and also fired tear gas shell at PTI workers.
A heavy contingent of police was sent to the other side of Canal Road.
Qureshi announces negotiations with ICT police
PTI senior leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi said he was ready to negotiate with the police to maintain peace.
“I have come to speak to the DIG (operations). I request him not to aggravate the situation,” he told the media.
The former minister claimed they have not taken the law into their hands, as they did not want bloodshed.
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Qureshi asked the DIG operations to meet and talk to him, and show him the arrest warrant against PTI chief Imran Khan.
“We will consult our lawyers on the warrant,” he stressed.
Punjab minister’s reaction
Interim Punjab Information Minister Amir Mir said Imran Khan is a former prime minister and leader of a large party, and he should respect the law.
Speaking exclusively to SAMAA TV, Mir said the PTI chief should be arrested on non-bailable arrest warrants, and that he should cooperate in the implementation of court orders.
He advised the former premier to refrain from using people as fodder for his goals. The minister insisted that the law will take its course.
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All the roads leading to Zaman Park were blocked by police. The police also sealed the Jail Road underpass, due to which there was heavy traffic congestion on various roads across the city.
Traffic jams were reported on Canal Road, Ferozepur Road, around The Mall road, Gulberg and near the railways station.
Lahore, ICT police advance on Imran’s warrant
On Monday, the Lahore and Islamabad Capital Territory police officers held daylong consultations and the Punjab police decided to fully support the capital officers in implementing the two arrest warrants against Imran Khan.
SAMAA TV sources said the Lahore police officers would assist the Islamabad police team to access Imran’s residence at Zaman Park.
Sources claimed both police teams also considered sending the arrest warrant to Imran during the public rally, but dropped the idea due to possible unrest.