Islamabad [Pakistan], March 14 (ANI): 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.
Videos shared by the PTI’s Karachi chapter showed 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 demonstrating at the press club, PTI workers blocked Sher shah Suri road and started marching towards the Governor House.
Islamabad police said that 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,” police said.
Chowrangi, Karachi, people staged a dharna by setting tires on fire against the atrocities being carried out by the police in Zaman Park.
Women protesting Stargate Karachi to support Imran Khan.
In a video message on Twitter, Imran said police had arrived at Zaman Park to arrest him. “They think that after I am arrested, the nation will fall asleep. You have to prove them wrong,” he said.
The PTI chairman said everyone should come out of their homes for their rights and “haqeeqi azaadi” (true freedom).
“If something happens to me and I am sent to jail or if I am killed, you have to prove that you will struggle without Imran Khan and not accept the slavery of these thieves and of the one person who has been making decisions for the country,” said the former premier, who has continued his confrontational rhetoric against the establishment since his ouster in April last year.
PTI’s Fawad Chaudhry also asked PTI supporters to gather in the streets in a show of solidarity with Imran.
Two non-bailable arrest warrants were issued for PTI chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan on Monday after he failed to appear in courts in cases linked to the Toshakhana reference and threatening 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.
The courts of Additional District and Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal (hearing the Toshakhana case) and Senior Civil Judge Rana Mujahid Rahim (hearing the judge threatening case) issued arrest warrants for Imran and instructed the police to present him before the courts on March 18 and March 21, respectively.
The court of ADSJ Zafar Iqbal restored non-bailable arrest warrants for Imran in the Toshakhana reference. It instructed the police to arrest the PTI chief and present him in court by March 18.
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.
The judge had then issued arrest warrants for Imran and adjourned the hearing till March 7.
On March 5, an Islamabad police team was sent to Lahore to arrest Imran with the court summons. However, it returned empty-handed after the PTI chief evaded the arrest.
Subsequently, Imran had approached the Islamabad High Court last week seeking the cancellation of his arrest warrants,the Dawn reported.
On March 7, the IHC had 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 today, Imran’s counsel Khawaja Haris informed the court that his client was not able to appear today. “He is not refusing to appear, but due to security threats he cannot be present,” he 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.(ANI)