Pakistan Reader# 570, 15 March 2023
On 14 March, Islamabad police sought to arrest PTI Chairman Imran Khan at his Zaman Park residence, where they met with violent resistance from PTI supporters. For 11 hours, there were clashes between PTI workers and the police, which led to several activists and police being injured. The police, upon arrival, met with stone pelting. The authorities suspended internet services they used water cannons and tear gas to push back the resistance. After their failure to arrest Imran Khan, police changed their strategy by waiting till dark and shutting down the lights in the riot-infected area where the police station itself with batons. The government have now imposed Section 144, and parliamentary troops have been stationed to maintain law and order.
Islamabad High Court to hear against the non-bailable warrant
On 14 March, Islamabad High Court (IHC) was scheduled to hear the petition on the non-bailable arrest warrants against Imran Khan. The development comes after PTI workers sought an immediate hearing of the same on 13 March amid the clash with the police. The registrar issued concerns over not conducting biometric requirements. Additionally, in a different case, Imran Khan’s non-bailable arrest was suspended for the case of threatening a female judge. Islamabad High Court granted PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry a protective bail in a case of allegedly concealing facts for the death of party worker Ali Bilal.
Imran Khan calls for continuing the struggle
Amid the chaos, Imran Khan released a video calling for a continued struggle for “real freedom” regardless of his death, saying, “Allah has blessed me with everything. I am fighting your war. If they put me in jail or kill me, don’t stop, just continue the struggle.” The protest is not limited to Zaman Park but converged throughout the country by PTI workers in Gujranwala, Hafizabad, Mandi Bhauddin, Sialkot, Narowal and even districts in Lahore
Malik Asad, “IHC to hear Imran’s appeal against warrant today,” Dawn, 15 March 2023
Arshad Dogar, Faizan Bangash & Salman Aslam, “Zaman Park turns into a battleground for Imran’s arrest,” The News International, 15 March 2023
Ahmad Fraz Khan, “Zaman Park remains under siege,” Dawn, 15 March 2023
“Showdown at Zaman Park,” The Express Tribune, 15 March 2023