The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) workers and supporters have taken control of Zaman Park in Lahore after the police, which earlier arrived to arrest former prime minister Imran Khan in the Toshakana case, withdrew from the Canal Road, ARY News reported on Tuesday.
According to details provided by the Pakistani news channel, the police failed to arrest the PTI chief despite the passage of seven hours as PTI workers laid siege to the path leading to Imran Khan’s residence as well as Canal Road. Taking control of Zaman Park, the PTI workers, and supporters chanted slogans in favor of Imran Khan.
The 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.
The Punjab police sought more water cannons on both sides of Canal Road and also fired tear gas shells at PTI workers, Samaa English reported.
Sharing the details of the protest and police reactions, PTI Karachi Official tweeted, “The worst firing is being done by the police on Karachi Hassan Square, women, children, elderly people are not being considered. Sindh Police is firing indiscriminately to stop the protest and disperse the protestors.
Earlier also, PTI’s Karachi chapter shared videos that showed that the workers gathered at Qayyumabad Chowrangi, II Chundrigar, Hassan Square, and Sohrab Goth.
Police are only 50 yards away from Imran Khan’s residence and there are only 50-60 PTI workers left outside his residence as Police started arresting party workers.
Intense shelling is being reported at Zaman park. More police contingents have been deployed and internet services have been blocked in the area where Imran Khan’s house is located in the northeastern city of Lahore which is also the capital of Punjab province, the Dawn reported.
All routes leading to Zaman Park have been blocked.
In Peshawar, a large number of PTI supporters demonstrated outside the press club. After holding the demonstration, PTI workers blocked Sher shah Suri road and started marching towards the Governor House.
Islamabad police said PTI protesters had blocked Tarnol Road but timely action had been taken to reopen it for traffic. “A case has been registered in Tarnol Police Station against the PTI workers who blocked the road on the orders of Imran Khan,” a police officer said.
Chowrangi, Karachi, people staged a dharna by setting tires on fire against the atrocities being carried out by the police in Zaman Park.
PTI’s Fawad Chaudhry also asked PTI supporters to gather on the streets in a show of solidarity with Imran.
Two non-bailable arrest warrants were issued for the PTI chairman on Monday after he failed to appear in courts in cases linked to the Toshakhana reference and threatened a woman additional district and sessions judge.
The 70-year-old ex-premier has been recovering from a gunshot injury from an assassination attempt in Wazirabad last year and has skipped hearings in several cases, the Dawn reported.
The PTI chief was supposed to appear before two district and session courts in Islamabad today but Imran’s lawyers filed petitions seeking an exemption from the hearings citing security reasons.
Imran has thrice skipped indictment hearings in the case. He is accused of concealing, in his assets declarations, details of the gifts he retained from the Toshakhana — a repository where presents handed to government officials from foreign officials are kept.
On March 7, the IHC suspended Imran’s non-bailable arrest warrants till March 13 and instructed him to appear before the sessions court.
At the outset of the proceedings on Tuesday, Imran’s counsel Khawaja Haris informed the court that his client would not be able to appear. “He is not refusing to appear, but due to security threats he cannot be present,” Imran’s lawyer said.
He recalled that the IHC had asked the sessions court to initiate legal proceedings against the PTI chief as per the law if he failed to appear before the court on March 13, the Dawn reported.