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Photo Source: Dawn

Pakistan Reader# 571, 16 March 2023

Chaos after attempted arrest of Imran Khan



Imran Khan instigating violence

Femy Francis

On 16 March, IHC Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal stated that if Imran Khan surrendered himself any attempt of arrest by Islamabad police would be halted. The development) occurred after the prolonged clash between the police and PTI workers protesting the attempted arrest. Imran Khan’s counsel Khawaja Haris Ahmed urged the judge to suspend the non-bailable arrest warrant; in turn, the judge stated that the warrant was placed to get him to court. Haris expressed that Imran wants to appear in court but is not stating the cause of worsening security situation and questioned if even the warrant was necessary. The Judge reiterated that the warrant has been the “most expensive” and that if he presented himself according to the law the current situation would not have transpired. Judge Iqbal said: “In criminal proceedings, arrest warrants are typically issued and then cancelled after the accused is presented in court.”

LHC order the police to cease arrest operation till 1000 hrs

On 16 March, Lahore High Court ordered the police to halt arresting operations till 1000 hrs, causing a lull at Zaman Park residence after the overnight clashes between the police and PTI supporters. Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh was scheduled to hear for protective bail for Imran Khan who found that it fell in the domain of the Islamabad High Court. Imran Khan’s counsel argued that the police created a “war zone” like the situation to which IGP Punjab Dr Usman Anwar said: “At least 59 police officers had been injured and two police vehicles, including water cannons, were damaged due to the attack by PTI workers.” The operation ceased owing to proceeding to be held in IHC and the police were asked to withdraw their forces till the allotted time.

Imran Khan accuse the government of plotting the “London Plan”

On 15 March, Imran Khan released a video accusing the government of the “London Plan” which required his arrest. The aim of this plan is to crush the PTI party and wipe out all cases against Nawaz Sharif. The second address showcased empty tear gas shells and bullets where he accused government of wanting to “minus Imran Khan” so that they do not have to contest in elections. He further questioned the military the “neutrals” as to why they raided his residence and as to what crime he committed that the Rangers were mapping his house. He reiterated that he wanted to turn himself in but his supporters advised otherwise cautioning of custodial torture.

Urging Imran Khan to present himself to the court and end the chaos, says Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari

On 16 March, Dawn reports Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari urging Imran Khan to present himself to court and to stop the political turmoil. He stated that Khan believes that he is above the Pakistani Constitution. Zardari states that Imran Khan resigned from his position and he is facing arrest because of his ego. He further mentioned that if he was innocent and refusing to appear in court, then he is also refusing the right to defend himself. Zardari argued that those people who benefited from undemocratic rule were the only one who benefited from Imran Khan being in power. Additionally, he said: “This experiment has now blown up not only in those individuals’ faces but has had severe consequences for our country.”

References

(“Toshakhana case: Judge to stop Imran's arrest if he 'surrenders' in court,” The Express Tribune, 15 March 2023)

(Mansoor Malik & Wajih Ahmad Sheikh, “Punjab capital smoulders amid lull in Zaman Park operation,” Dawn, 16 March 2023)

(Anwar Iqbal, “Bilawal asks PTI chief to end the crisis, go to court,” Dawn, 16 March 2023)

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