Protests broke out in major cities 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.
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.
Videos shared by the PTI’s Karachi chapter showed workers gathered at Qayyumabad Chowrangi, II Chundrigar, Hassan Square and Sohrab Goth.
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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.
Imran tells supporters to ‘come out’
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.
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, however, said that officials would arrest Imran in accordance with the court’s directives and produce him in court.
Police, PTI workers clash
Shortly after 2pm, armoured police vehicles had arrived outside Zaman Park with the intention of arresting Imran but a senior Islamabad police official, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) (Operations) Shahzad Bukhari, had refrained from commenting on the case in which officials were acting against the PTI chairman.
While police did not comment an Islamabad district and sessions court on Monday had again issued arrest warrants for Imran after he persistently skipped hearings in the Toshakhana case. The court had also directed police to present the ex-premier in court by March 18.
Almost an hour after police arrived outside Zaman Park, police used a water cannon and tear gas against PTI supporters that had gathered outside Zaman Park in droves.