- Says more arrests are expected
Islamabad Police said on Thursday that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Asad Umar, Fawad Chaudhry, Jamshed Iqbal Cheema, Falaknaz Chitrali, Musarrat Jamshed Cheema, Maleeka Bokhari, Ijaz Chaudhry, and Ali Mohammad Khan have been arrested after protests started following party Chairman Imran Khan's arrest.
“Arrests had been made for inciting arson and violent protests under a well-thought out plan for threatening peace,” Islamabad Police tweeted.
All these leaders were arrested after fulfilling legal requirements. The police warned that further arrests were also expected.
PTI's violent protests unforgivable crimes: PM
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that the violent protests being led by PTI amounted to “unforgivable crimes” and are “acts of terrorism.”
He warned that strict action would be taken against “state’s enemies” who are ransacking public properties and state installations.
The prime minister said “terrorists and elements who are enemies of the state” should immediately stop their “anti-state activities”, warning that the “miscreants” would otherwise be dealt with a heavy hand.
“They will be given an exemplary punishment,” the premier warned.
PM Shehbaz has said that “all evidence” is present for the Al-Qadir Trust case against the PTI chairman, adding that Imran is the first beneficiary of the amended NAB law.
May 9 a ‘black chapter’:ISPR
The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) also released a statement, saying that May 9 will be remembered as a “black chapter”.
“We will not allow anyone to take the law into their hands,” the military’s media affairs wing said in a strongly-worded statement.
The ISPR added that Imran was arrested from the Islamabad High Court “in line with the NAB statement and law”.
“Immediately after this arrest, attacks were perpetrated on the army’s properties and installations while anti-army slogans were raised.”
The ISPR stressed that on the one hand, “these miscreants evoke the nation’s emotions for achieving their limited and selfish objectives, and on the other hand, they deceive people, continuing to highlight the army’s importance”.
At least 3 dead, 27 injured in Peshawar
The violence sparked by Imran's arrest on Tuesday intensified after three people were killed and over 25 were injured in clashes between protesters and security forces in Peshawar.
The spokesperson of the Lady Reading Hospital told the media that three dead bodies and 20 people with bullet injuries have been brought to the hospital in the past couple of hours.
He said the injured people received bullet wounds on their legs and hands, assuring that they were being provided first aid.
The spokesperson of the Khyber Teaching Hospital told the media that at least seven injured people have been brought to the facility.
Pakistan Army deployed in Islamabad, Punjab and KP
The Ministry of Interior on Wednesday authorised the deployment of Pakistan Army in Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and Islamabad after the respective setups asked for troops in a bid to maintain law-and-order.
“Pursuant to the request made by Home Department, government of the Punjab … the Federal Government, in exercise of the powers conferred under Article 245 of the Constitutions and Section 4 (3) (ii) of Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 (to discharge such functions as specified in the said act), is pleased to authorize deployment of Pakistan Army troops/assets for maintaining law and order situation across the Punjab province in aid of civil power,” stated the Ministry of Interior in its order, available with Business Recorder, dated May 10, 2023.
Imran Khan's arrest
The former PM was arrested in the Al-Qadir Trust Case by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) outside the IHC on Tuesday. The corruption cases against the former PM are two of more than 100 cases registered against him since his ouster in April 2022 in a parliamentary no-confidence vote
A witness said shortly after Imran entered the gate of the IHC to appear before hearings, contingents of paramilitary forces and armoured personnel carriers entered after him.
The gate was blocked by armoured vehicles while Imran was whisked away shortly after under heavy security, the witness added.
The arrest prompted massive protests across the country.