Lahore: Armoured police vehicles were seen arriving outside Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan’s residence in Lahore on Tuesday, a day after an Islamabad court issued directives to arrest the country’s former prime minister in the Toshakhana case, local media reported.
Heavy police presence was seen outside Khan’s Zaman Park residence with a senior Islamabad police official being cited by the Dawn as saying that police intended to arrest the ex-premier.
According to the daily’s correspondent the Mall Road was blocked and a number of PTI workers had gathered outside Zaman Park. Police slowly approached the residence behind an armoured vehicle that was dispersing PTI supporters with water cannons and tear gas. Supporters could also be seen pelting stones at the policemen.
PTI’s official Twitter account also called on supporters and workers to gather outside Zaman Park and to remain peaceful.
Islamabad Deputy Inspector General (DIG) (Operations) Shahzad Bukhari told reporters that officials had gathered outside Imran Khan’s Zaman Park residence to take the PTI chief into custody as there were outstanding warrants for his arrest.
However, the police official declined to divulge the details of the case in which Islamabad police acted against Imran. “Of course, we know of the case but why should we discuss [such] details?”, the Pakistan daily reported.
While police refrained from commenting on the case in which it was acting against the PTI chief, the development comes a day after an Islamabad district and sessions court 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.
When asked where Imran would be taken once he was arrested, Bukhari said: “Let it first happen, then God willing we will keep you informed.”
DIG Shahzad Bukhari speaking to Dawn news asserted that police had arrived to “serve the lawful process”, adding that he expected that others would cooperate with the officials.
He said he expected the people not to take the law into their own hands and would also announce it to the public gathered outside Imran Khan’s residence.
When asked whether police would take action if the situation descended into chaos, he said: “Yes of course, if someone takes the law into their hands then we will act in accordance with the law.”
Meanwhile, PTI’s Farrukh Habib shared footage of officials outside Zaman Park. He said that Imran Khan’s life was in danger yet situations were being created behind the scenes so that another attempt on the ex-premier’s life could be carried out.
“Appearing before a court in F-8 is no less than a death trap,” he said.