Protests broke out in major cities of Pakistan on Tuesday at the call of PTI Chairman Imran Khan as police and party workers continued to clash outside his Zaman Park residence in Lahore, Dawn reported.
Protests broke out in Islamabad, Peshawar and Karachi after Imran called on his supporters to “come out” following police’s use of tear gas and a water cannon on supporters outside Zaman Park. Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, however, said that officials would arrest Imran in accordance with the court’s directives and produce him in court, the Dawn reported.
Islamabad Deputy Inspector General (DIG) (Operations) Shahzad Bukhari was injured during the clash. Shortly after 2 pm on Tuesday, armoured police vehicles had arrived outside Zaman Park residence with the intention of arresting Imran but senior Islamabad police official had refrained from commenting on the case in which officials were acting against the PTI chairman.
However, almost an hour later, police used a water cannon and tear gas against PTI supporters that had gathered outside Zaman Park in droves.
Footage surfacing on Social Media showed police slowly inching toward the residence behind an armoured vehicle dispersing PTI supporters with a water cannon. Supporters could also be seen pelting stones at the policemen.
Footage also showed PTI supporters being teargassed as police arrived close to the main gate of Zaman Park. The workers, who had covered their faces with pieces of cloth and were carrying bottles of water, continued to pelt stones at officials. PTI’s Shireen Mazari shared a video where tear gas could be seen entering Imran’s residence.
Amid the chaos, it emerged that Islamabad DIG (Operations) Bukhari — who is leading the police team — had been injured. Footage aired on TV showed the senior police official struggling to walk as two other officials helped him.
On Monday, an Islamabad district and sessions court again issued arrest warrants for Imran after he persistently skipped hearings in the Toshakhana case. The court had also directed police to present the ex-premier in court by 18 March.
Speaking to the media outside Zaman Park after the police’s use of force, PTI’s Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that he had come to talk to the Islamabad DIG (Operations).
“He says he came with an arrest warrant [but] I’m requesting him to not ruin the situation,” he said, adding that the PTI wanted to remain peaceful and did not want bloodshed.
“Meet me and talk to me. What are your orders? Deliver them to me, show me the warrant, I’ll read it and understand it and talk to my chairman and consult our lawyers.” He said that the police action against PTI workers was “without reason” and called for it to stop immediately.
Meanwhile, Imran Khan has released a video message and asked the “kaum” to keep fighting. He said that the struggle should not stop if he is sent to Jail or killed, the people of Pakistan have to keep fighting for their rights and freedom.
“My dear Pakistanis, police are here to arrest me. They think that “kaum” will sleep when Imran khan will go to jail. You have to prove them wrong. You have to prove that it is an alive “kaum”.
“For your rights and freedom, you have to struggle and fight,” he added.
“I have everything thing by the grace of God, I am fighting a war for you. I have fought all my life and keep fighting. But if I’m put into jail or I’m killed, then you have to prove that this kaum will struggle without Imran khan also,” he said further.