Storm clouds gathering as PTI supporters 'fortify' Imran Khan's home amid police march
LHC has extended break in police operation at Zaman Park till Friday
LAHORE (Dunya News) – Supporters of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) have sealed the entrance of party chairman Imran Khan’s residence by placing containers as contingents of police started gathering again near Zaman Park in the provincial capital, triggering fears of another round of clashes.
The situation developed despite the Lahore High Court’s orders to stop operation till Friday.
It appears the administration is waiting for words from a lower court in Islamabad, which is hearing a PTI petition seeking cancellation of Mr Khan’s arrest warrants, to decide the next course of action. The law enforcers may resume their push to arrest the former prime minister if the district and sessions court rejects the plea.
The eastern city of Lahore saw violent clashes between the PTI supporters and security officials in which petrol bombs, water cannon and tear gas were traded after an operation to arrest Imran Khan was launched on Tuesday. The turbulent situation continued on Wednesday until the LHC ordered authorities to halt the operation and arrest of Imran Khan for a day. The break was further extended till Friday as LHC’s Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh resumed hearing on the petition on Thursday.
A lower court in Islamabad had issued a warrant against Mr Khan for defying orders to present himself in court over charges that he unlawfully sold state gifts given to him by foreign dignitaries when he was the prime minister from 2018 to 2022. It has ordered the authorities to produce the suspect before court on March 18.
In the latest development, the supporters of the defiant politician have also placed stones on the road leading to Zaman Park. On the other hand, multiple trucks with shipping containers have been placed at the intersection of The Mall and Canal roads. The restrictions have caused mental agony to commuters.
Taking to Twitter, PTI leader Musarrat Jamshed Cheema claimed that barricades were being placed on roads leading to Zaman Park and containers were being moved towards major highways across the Punjab.
Ms Cheema warned that the PTI supporters would continue to defend the party leader, adding: “We are ready to sacrifice our lives but will not let the future of Pakistan be hijacked by a few families."
— Musarrat Cheema (@MusarratCheema) March 16, 2023
She said the LHC had stopped police from conducting an operation. She warned of strong reaction from the public if the court orders were defied by the administration. She said the government would have to hold elections in the country.