Home Latest News Police Reach Zaman Park in Lahore to Arrest Imran Khan

Police Reach Zaman Park in Lahore to Arrest Imran Khan

PTI supporters seek to prevent party chief’s arrest, triggering clashes with law enforcement personnel

by Staff Report

Screengrab of police using water cannon to disperse PTI workers

Police and supporters of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) clashed outside party chief Imran Khan’s Zaman Park residence on Tuesday after a heavy contingent of Islamabad and Lahore police arrived to enforce a non-bailable arrest warrant for the former prime minister.

Wielding placards showing printed copies of the warrant, over a hundred policemen in riot gear gathered at Zaman Park. Urging the PTI workers to disperse and allow them to perform their duties, the law enforcement personnel initially blocked access to the portion of Canal Road that leads to Zaman Park before seeking Khan’s arrest.

As the police approached the residence, however, the PTI called on its supporters on social media to gather and resist the arrest, triggering clashes. Initially, charged PTI workers pelted police with stones and sticks, injuring several personnel, but facing little resistance. Eventually, however, police responded by resorting to the use of water cannons and tear gas to disperse the protesters.

According to local media, Islamabad police had arrived in the Punjab capital a day earlier to comply with court orders directing them to arrest Khan and produce him in court on March 18. “It is the police’s job to bring Imran Khan to the court,” stated Additional Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal while rejecting Khan’s plea to be granted yet another exemption from personal appearance in the Toshakhana reference over security threats. The same day, Khan led a political rally in Lahore, seemingly with no threats to his life.

DIG Operations Islamabad Shahzad Bukhari, leading the police party that surrounded Khan’s Zaman Park residence, told media that the cops had arrived to comply with the warrant. “We know the details of the case but cannot discuss,” he told media, adding that any information on where Khan would be detained would be shared with media after the PTI chief had been taken into custody.

“We have come to arrest Imran Khan and will only leave after arresting him in compliance with court orders,” he said after PTI supporters resisted attempts to enter Zaman Park. “There will be legal action against people hampering enforcement of warrant,” he said, describing the response of the workers as “unnecessary resistance.”

Speaking with media outside Zaman Park, PTI Vice-Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi called on the Islamabad DIG to not “worsen the situation.” Claiming the PTI wished to remain peaceful, he questioned if police wanted bloodshed. “You should come and talk to me and present warrant. Once I have read it and examined it, I will deliberate with Imran Khan and our lawyers and then give an answer,” he said, adding in response to a question that Khan might be willing to submit to arrest after this process.

“We don’t want any damage to life or property,” he said, while suggesting that the reason for Khan’s arrest was a bid to hamper the party’s planned rally at Minar-e-Pakistan on March 19. To another question, Qureshi initially claimed Khan was inside Zaman Park and then backtracked by claiming he was not within the residence at this time.

Qureshi further said that Khan had been granted protective bail and questioned how police could arrest him “per our (PTI) understanding.” PTI’s Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, meanwhile, said that the arrest warrant against Khan had been challenged in the Islamabad High Court (IHC). “Shibli Faraz and Barrister Gohar have reached the IHC,” he said in a posting on Twitter.

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