Thursday, March 23, 2023

Security forces withdraw from Imran Khan’s residence on court orders, tension lingers

Security forces withdrew from PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s residence at Zaman Park after the Lahore High Court ordered the police to suspend their plan to arrest Khan until 10 am tomorrow, Thursday.

The LHC orders came after PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry filed a petition to stop the “atrocities” taking place outside Khan’s residence in Lahore. Meanwhile, the Islamabad High Court is also expected to announce its decision on Thursday concerning another PTI plea that challenges the arrest warrant against Khan.

Arrest attempts

Earlier in the day, Police and rangers clashed with the supporters of former Prime Minister Imran Khan for the second consecutive day outside his residence in Lahore amid attempts to arrest Khan.

An Islamabad police team that arrived to arrest Imran Khan on Tuesday faced fierce resistance from PTI supporters, who converged on Zaman Park to protect their chairman from arrest, braving tear gas and water cannons to keep the police party at bay.

A sizeable contingent of paramilitary Rangers joined police, who had arrived at the scene the previous day with a court-issued warrant to arrest the ex-premier.

Tensions were high outside Khan’s residence on Tuesday as police attempted to enter the compound, leading to officers firing tear gas shells to disperse Khan’s supporters, who responded by throwing stones and bricks.

Violent clashes across Pakistan

Violent clashes were reported between Khan’s supporters and police in several other major cities as well including Karachi, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Quetta, and other areas. In response, the government had dispatched additional police forces to Zaman Park.

The situation remains volatile, and many are closely following the latest developments in this ongoing and evolving story.

Khan’s Video Message

Imran Khan, in a video address on Tuesday, stated that he was willing to provide a guarantee that he would appear before Islamabad court on Saturday.

He cited concerns about security, noting that two previous militant attacks had taken place at the court. Khan also contended that there was no justification for his arrest on Tuesday, as he had secured protective bail until Saturday.

“I’m mentally prepared that I’m going to be spending my night in a cell,” he said. “I don’t know how many nights, but I’m all prepared for that.”

He further alleged that the government was committed to imprisoning him, despite previous unsuccessful attempts to do so. These comments have sparked debate and speculation about the ongoing political situation in Pakistan.

London plan

Khan released another video message on Wednesday morning, in which he alleged that a plot had been devised in London to imprison him and dismiss all charges against his political rival, Nawaz Sharif.

“An agreement has been signed under the London plan which requires Imran Khan to be put in jail, the [Pakistan] Tehreek-e-Insaf [party] to be damaged, and all cases against Nawaz Sharif to be abolished,” Khan said.

He said the government wants him behind bars to stop him from taking part in a general election later this year.

“The surety has been given to Nawaz Sharif,” he added. “This is part of the London plan to put me in jail. It has got nothing to do with law, nor have I committed any crime.”

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