- Police have been stopped by the court till 10am on Thursday
The Lahore High Court (LHC) ordered police to suspend the operation outside Zaman Park in Lahore that began on Tuesday as law enforcement personnel attempted to arrest Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan in connection with the Toshkhana case.
On Wednesday, the LHC ordered police to stop till 10am on Thursday. On the other hand, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) disposed of a plea seeking the cancellation of the PTI chief’s arrest warrants.
On Tuesday, law enforcement personnel had arrived at Zaman Park to arrest former prime minister, following which they clased with PTI supporters. By Wednesday afternoon, law enforcement personnel began retreating from the former prime minister's residence without arresting him.
Earlier in the day, PTI’s official Twitter account showed the former PM, donning a gas mask, addressing party supporters at Zaman Park. Later, he was seen without the gas mask among his supporters.
In a tweet, Imran said that after a day of facing tear gas, cannons with chemical water, rubber bullets and live bullets, Rangers were taking over and were now in direct confrontation with his supporters.
“My question to the establishment, to those who claim they are ‘neutral’: Is this your idea of neutrality, Rangers directly confronting unarmed protestors & leadership of the largest political party when their leader is facing an illegal warrant & case already in court & when govt of crooks trying to abduct & possibly murder him?” he asked.
Early Wednesday morning, the PTI chairman in a video said, "Water canons, teargas... they shelled inside the house where there were servants and women."
"I am telling the entire nation today that they are ready once again, they're going to come again," he said.
"They will teargas our people and do other such things, but you should know that they have no justification to do so."
“I signed a surety bond last evening, but the DIG refused to even entertain it. There is no doubt of their mala fide intent,” he said.
He claimed that he was not appearing at the F-8 Katcheri as terrorists had targeted the facility twice. The Interior Ministry has itself said that my life is in danger and yet again they are doing all this, he said.
LHC summons Punjab inspector-general
Earlier, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry had filed a petition seeking to stop the “atrocities” outside Zaman Park.
Hearing his petition, Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikhsummoned the Punjab inspector-general, chief secretary, and Islamabad police (operations) head in court today.
IHC reserves verdict
Meanwhile, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) reserved its verdict regarding Imran's plea against his non-bailable arrest warrant today. IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq heard the case.
PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said that the party will follow whatever order the high court passes.
Imran has been demanding a snap election in protest rallies across the country since his ouster from office in a parliamentary vote last year. However, PM Shehbaz Sharif has said the vote will be held as scheduled later this year.
On Tuesday, armoured police vehicles arrived outside Khan’s residence with the intention of arresting Imran in the Toshakh but Deputy Inspector General (Operations) Shahzad Bukhari refrained from commenting on the arrest warrant issued by the sessions court Islamabad in the Toshakhana case.
PTI workers clashed with law enforcement that retaliated with baton charging, water cannons and tear gas shelling. Protesters hurled stones on police and attacked them with sticks.
Anti-riots police arrested a few PTI workers.
While Imran's arrest was not yet made till late on Tuesday night, multiple cities had erupted with protests as party supporters gathered in droves to condemn the police operation against Imran.
Imran Khan’s message
In a video message posted on Twitter on Tuesday, Imran told his supporters that “police thinks that protesters will sleep as soon as I am arrested but you have to prove them wrong”.
“You have to stand up for your rights and freedom. If they kill me, you have to show that you will stand for your rights without me.”
Non-bailable arrest warrant
On Monday, a district and sessions court rejected Imran’s exemption application and upheld the non-bailable arrest warrant issued for him in the Toshakhana case over his persistent absence in the case hearings.
A warrant was also issued against him in a case related to remarks made about additional sessions Judge, Islamabad, Zeba Chaudhry. However, on Tuesday the court had suspended this warrant and barred police from arresting the former prime minister till March 16.