LAHORE, MAR 14: Law enforcers and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) workers clashed Tuesday as a heavy contingent of police reached Zaman Park to arrest former prime minister Imran Khan in the Toshakana case — the only case in which his arrest warrants are not suspended.
In light of the development, the PTI chairman asked his workers to keep fighting for the “rule of law” and ensure that they continue the struggle no matter what.
A team of Islamabad police has been in Lahore since yesterday to comply with the court orders to arrest the PTI chairman — who faces a number of cases in different cities.
The police, although observing restraint, are using water canons to disperse the party’s workers as they move ahead in their quest to arrest Khan, and they are around 90 metres away from his residence.
The law enforcers are in Zaman Park in line with court orders as on Monday, a district and sessions court in Islamabad restored the former prime minister’s non-bailable arrest warrant in the Toshakhana case.
Last week, the IHC suspended the non-bailable arrest warrant for Khan issued by the local court issued due to the PTI chief’s continuous absence and directed him to appear before the lower court on March 13 — and he failed to comply with the orders yet again.
This is the second time in less than 10 days that the police have arrived at Zaman Park to apprehend the deposed prime minister.
As the party’s workers resorted to stone-pelting, a policeman suffered injuries on his face. Meanwhile, the law enforcers have also arrested the PTI workers.
‘Let us first arrest him’
DIG Operations Islamabad Shahzad Bukhari is leading the police party that has surrounded Khan’s residence in the city’s posh area.
While talking to the media, the police official said: “We have come to comply with the warrant. We know the details of the case but cannot discuss”.
“Where will you take Imran Khan after arresting him?” a journalist asked the official.
To this, DIG Bukhari said: “Let us first arrest him and then we will inform the media”.
Ready to find ‘possible way out’
Amid the clashes between the PTI’s workers and the police, the party’s Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that the leadership is ready to find out a “possible way out” to avert bloodshed.
The PTI vice chairman, while addressing a press conference at Zaman Park, asked the police to not “worsen the situation” and talk to the party’s leadership.
“Show me the warrant. I will first read and understand it. Then, I will speak to Imran Khan and my lawyers,” the senior PTI leader told the police.
Terming the police action as a reaction to yesterday’s rally and unreasonable, the PTI leader claimed that Khan has a protective bail granted by the court.
“An arrest cannot be made” if a person has a protective bail, Qureshi stated. The PTI leader also asked the authorities if they wanted to postpone the upcoming elections.
Commenting on the police action, he maintained that the law enforcers arrived at Zaman Park with a programme for “bloodshed”.
Extending a dialogue offer to the authorities, the PTI leader said that “talk to us maybe we will voluntarily surrender”.
He maintained that the police raided the Khan’s house, adding that the authorities are bent upon harming him.
‘Life in danger’
Meanwhile, PTI leader Farrukh Habib said that he is going to talk to the police, terming the move “dangerous” for Khan.
He said that they will inform the police that these warrants are being challenged in court.
“I don’t think that police need to take any extreme step. We don’t want to put Imran Khan in any situation where his life is in danger.”
Habib mentioned that arrest warrants were suspended by the court in the judge-threatening case and the warrants for which the police are here, will also be suspended.
In a tweet later, PTI Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry said that the party leaders have moved the IHC against the arrest warrants issued in the Toshakhana case. “We expect the hearing shortly. Shibli Faraz and Barrister Gohar have reached Islamabad High Court,” he added.