A tense stand-off continues between the Islamabad police and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) workers at Pakistan's Lahore in the early hours of Wednesday as more contingents were called to PTI chairman Imran Khan’s residence to arrest him in the Toshakhana case.
Though over 15 hours have passed since the clashes erupted between the law enforcement and PTI workers, the police could not arrest him due to the strong resistance from PTI workers in front of his Zaman Park residence.
Meanwhile, Imran Khan addressed his supporters around 4:20 am (local time) alleging that attempts to arrest him were underway. "The way police attacked our people, there is no example of this. What is the reason for attacking a small number of people like this?" he said.
He said the authorities were aware that his bail was on the 18th. "They knew why I was not attending the bail… because of security."
He added that the federal government actions were all part of a "London plan" to finish all cases against the country’s former premier Nawaz Sharif. "This is part of the London plan and an agreement has been signed there to put Imran in jail, make the PTI fall and finish all cases against Nawaz Sharif," he added.
Imran said he had given an undertaking to the Lahore High Court Bar Association president to prevent any chaos. The Bar Association president them tried to forward it to the DIG, who was coming to arrest him, but the latter did not meet the president. "According to Code of Criminal Procedure Section 76, if this surety bond is given to the arresting officer, then I cannot be arrested," Imran said. The PTI chief said the DIG had no reason to not accept the undertaking.
He, however, did not make any announcements.
On Tuesday, Khan had posted another message to his supporters to keep "fighting the battle." "They (the government) think that after my arrest, the nation will fall asleep. You have to prove them wrong," 70-year-old said in the video. "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."
Amid this, tense situation prevailed in Lahore as more reinforcement arrived in to tackle irate crowd. The PTI has alleged that the police were resorting to intermittent tear gas shelling. The party has also alleged that the power supply to Zaman Park was cut and there was now a blackout.
This is the 81st FIR against Khan since the PML-N-led federal coalition came into power 11 months ago after toppling his government through a no-confidence motion.
Though the police came to arrest him after he failed to appear before the court, Khan left his residence to lead a march of thousands of his supporters. His supporters threw rose petals at a convoy carrying him to the Data Darbar shrine.
Khan's government was toppled in April last year after losing a no-confidence vote. He had then alleged that this was part of a US-led conspiracy, an aftermath of his decision to undertake "independent foreign policy decisions on Russia, China and Afghanistan." He has since been demanding fresh elections to oust what he termed an "imported government" led by prime minister Shehbaz Sharif.
Sharif has maintained that elections will be held later this year once the parliament completes its five-year tenure.