Imran Khan not arrested despite hours of PTI-police clashes
- Reports of PTI activists being arrested
- Police call in reinforcements
- Earlier, police hold talks with PTI leaders, assure them of Khan’s security
Police failed to arrest Imran Khan as clashes with PTI workers outside Zaman Park continued past midnight on Tuesday. A large number of police personnel and party supporters are still present at Zaman Park.
A team of the Islambad Police, accompanied by a heavy contingent of Lahore Police, is at Imran Khan’s Zaman Park residence in Lahore to arrest the PTI chief in the Toshakhana case. Earlier, an Islamabad court suspended another warrant in a separate case.
The latest reports indicated that a scuffle broke out between workers and the police at around 4pm.
Imran Khan says his arrest will not stop movement
“Police have arrived to arrest me,” Imran Khan said in a video posted to Twitter from inside his residence.
“They think the nation will go to sleep when I’m arrested, you have to prove them wrong,” he said.
He told party workers that they should come out on the streets for ‘true freedom’ if he is arrested or killed.
’You have to prove that you will not accept the decisions of one man,“ he said.
Interview with international media
While clashes between PTI workers and police continued outside his home, Imran appeared in an interview with Al-Jazeera via audio.
“The government itself says my life is in danger,” Imran Khan said. He added that he had recently appeared in court and adequate security arrangements had not been made.
He also said that the Toshakhana case, in which the police tried to arrest him on Tuesday, was a completely frivolous allegation. He also added that he had been nominated in 80 different cases, including everything from sedition to terrorism.
“Everyday there is a new case against me,” he said.
He also added that peaceful demonstration is a democratic right, which is being denied to his party.
IHC says it will hear Imran’s petition tomorrow
PTI moved the Islamabad High Court to prevent Imran Khan’s arrests as clashes in Zaman Park continued.
However, Justice Aamer Farooq rejected the request to begin proceedings imemdiately and instead set them for Wednesday.
Govt considers shutting down internet
As police attempts to arrest Imran Khan failed despite an hours-long showdown, reports emerged that the government was considering throttling internet in the country.
The suggestion has reportedly been made by the bureaucracy, but is only a suggestion for the time being.
The ban could also be extended to mobile services, sources said. The government is continuously monitoring the situation and planning to deal with the fallout if the arrest takes place.
Clashes with workers
The police called in a water cannon to disperse the activists who stood between the police and Khan’s residence. After the water cannon splashed workers with water, the police fired tear gas shells. PTI activists pelted the police with stones.
However, the activists soon lost ground and policemen were seen uprooting the tents outside Khan’s residence. Dozen of PTI workers have been camping in these tents to protect their leader for the past few months.
At 4:15pm police called in reinforcements as they moved towards Khan’s house. PTI workers have also been arrested. CCPO Lahore has clarified that the riot police in Zaman Park is not armed.
At 5:15pm another major clash took place between police and party workers. Police fired tear gas and workers responded by pelting stones, and breifly forced the police to retreat from Zaman park’s main gate.
How it began
Shortly after 2pm on Tuesday, a heavy contingent of Lahore Police accompanied the Islamabad Police officials to Khan’s house. Footage aired by Aaj News at around 2:30pm showed at least two prison vans and other police vehicles parked 300 meters away from the Zaman Park residence, waiting for the next move.
Since the raid was already expected, a large number of PTI workers also arrived to possibly resist the arrest — some of them armed with wooden sticks and hammers.
At least 300 personnel of anti-riot police were deployed with riot gear to deal with protests.
A police armored vehicle was also at the scene and will likely move Imran Khan to the court after the arrest, Aaj News Lahore Bureau Chief Saleem Sheikh reported.
As the police approached Khan’s residence, policemen displayed copies of court warrants by plastering them to placards and carrying them to PTI workers. They emphasized that they were only enforcing court orders.
Islamabad DIG Police Shehzad Bukhari, who is leading around 8-member Islamabad police team, confirmed to reporters that their plan was to arrest Khan.
Khan’s nephew and lawyer Hassan Khan Niazi said that Imran Khan was present at his home.
He said the legal team will assure the police authorities of Khan’s court appearance but given the heavy number of police personnel, he was afraid that the police were bent on securing an arrest.
Niazi and PTI leader Farrukh Habib held negotiations with police officials as PTI workers milled around.
DIG Bukhari told Aaj News that during the talks they discussed the security of Imran Khan and the police team had assured the PTI leaders that Khan’s security was their responsibility.
PTI activists set up two lines of defense and vowed that they would not allow police to breach the second line at any cost, reported Ateeq Malik.
The number of party activists is growing with time, though police have blocked one of the two entry points to Zaman Park, he said.
Later, the police closed all roads leading to Khan’s residence by installing shipping containers.
Arrest warrant suspended in one case
Imran Khan failed on Monday to appear in two separate cases before Islamabad courts. One of the cases was registered over the alleged threat he issued to Islamabad District and Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry and the other is linked with the allegations that Khan illegally retained gifts from Toshakhana, the state gift repository.
The court was due to indict Khan in the Toshakhan case but he has consistently avoided court appearances.
The district and sessions court on Tuesday suspended his arrest warrant in the Judge Zeba Chaudhry case until March 16. The warrant in the Toshakhana case remains active.
The police plan to visit Zaman Park with Khan’s arrest warrant was out since Monday morning.
Officials from Islamabad and Lahore police departments held the meeting hours after two sets of non-bailable arrest warrants were issued for Imran Khan by courts in the federal capital.
It was decided that Lahore police will ensure access to the Khan’s house by accompanying the raiding party of the Islamabad police.
Earlier this month, an anti-terrorism court issued warrants for Khan over his failure to appear before the court in a case that was registered when PTI workers held a protest outside the Election Commission of Pakistan offices in Islamabad.
On March 5, a team from Islamabad Police arrived at Zaman Park but had to return without an arrest when PTI workers scuffled with the policemen and PTI leader Shibli Faraz said that Khan was not available.
Meanwhile, Islamabad Police have refuted claims that a team flew to Lahore in a helicopter or an aircraft to arrest Imran Khan immediately after the fresh arrest warrants were issued on Monday.
A statement said that an Islamabad Police team was already in Lahore and no new team has been sent.
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