LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: Contingents of police that were closing in on Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s residence in Zaman Park to arrest him for the last two days have started retreating, sources on the ground said on Wednesday, halting the hostilities for a while.
“Police will not advance on Khan’s residence until the ongoing Pakistan Super League (PSL) 8 cricket match is over,” sources quoted police officials as saying.
Police and other security officials were seen leaving Zaman Park.
After the withdrawal of the police, PTI chief Imran Khan came out of his residence, in a mask, and met the workers.
The video was shared on PTI’s Twitter account.
Earlier today, following the police’s failure in arresting PTI Chairman Imran Khan, a large number of Punjab Rangers arrived at the former prime minister’s Zaman Park residence to implement court orders.
As per Geo News, the police and rangers reached the residence of the PTI leader at Zaman Park. The development came after police fired teargas in the area to disperse the PTI workers.
However, they withdrew and sources have said that the police retreated due to the PSL match scheduled for today.
So far, the police have arrested at least 10 PTI workers from the area.
On the other hand, hospital sources told Geo News that at least 54 cops and eight citizens have been injured in the clashes that have been on going since yesterday.
PTI supporters clashed repeatedly with police overnight while he remained holed up in his Zaman Park residence, defying attempts to arrest him. Meanwhile, the law enforcers had also arrested the PTI workers.
Police fought pitched battles with supporters of Khan’s PTI near his residence throughout the night, firing fusillades of teargas and dodging rocks thrown by angry crowds.
The police action to implement court orders started on Tuesday when a heavy contingent surrounded the area, however, a charged crowd denied the law enforcers any opportunity to arrest their leader.
Police unarmed, claims minister
Meanwhile, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said the police personnel at Zaman Park are “unarmed”, adding that the PTI chief wants civil war in the country.
“Government has no link with Imran Khan’s arrest,” said the minister.
She reminded that the PTI chief during his tenure jailed all his political opponents, adding that Imran Khan was giving an impression that the government was behind his arrest.
“Court issued an arrest warrant,” said the minister, adding that the PTI chief was using women and children as shields.
“This person is a convict and the court has summoned him,” said the minister.
Fawad files plea against police operation
PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry has filed a plea in the Lahore High Court (LHC) seeking the court’s intervention to stop the ongoing police action at Zaman Park.
The petition has been sent to Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh for a hearing.
‘Whatever is happening is a result of your actions’
Meanwhile, Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Amir Farooq has directed the PTI to address the objections raised by the Registrar Office, observing “whatever is happening in Lahore is a result of PTI’s actions”.
The PTI had approached the IHC challenging the arrest warrants on security grounds. Khan’s counsel filed the plea on Tuesday and requested the court to fix the matter before a bench for a hearing the same day.
The court office, however, objected that the petition did not have the deposed prime minister’s biometric verification.
When CJ Amir Farooq took up the plea today he asked the PTI counsel if it had addressed the objections on the petition.
At this, PTI lawyer Khawaja Haris replied that whatever is happening in Lahore is known to the court.
“Whatever is happening is a result of your actions,” responded Justice Farooq.
The IHC CJ also told the counsel that the plea was yet to be fixed and that he will hear it once it is fixed.
Justice Farooq also asked about what happened on the relief that the court had given. The court orders were not implemented we will see what result it would have, he added.
The CJ remarked that the IHC’s Registrar Office had raised minor objections to the petition. He then stated that he was removing two objections related to the biometric verification and signature of the petitioner.
“There is an objection on tickets that can be removed in half an hour,” said the IHC CJ. However, in the order, the court asked the lawyers to address the objections within three days and adjourned the hearing.