Five Kalashnikovs recovered from PTI leader's car outside Bani Gala

Published October 30, 2016
Police recover alcohol from PTI leader Amin Gandapur's car. ─ DawnNews
Police recover alcohol from PTI leader Amin Gandapur's car. ─ DawnNews
Police recover six Kalashnikov rifles from PTI leader Amin Gandapur's car. ─ DawnNews
Police recover six Kalashnikov rifles from PTI leader Amin Gandapur's car. ─ DawnNews

Islamabad police on Sunday said they recovered five Kalashnikov rifles, a pistol, six magazines, a bulletproof vest, alcohol and three tear gas shells from PTI leader Amin Gandapur's car outside Bani Gala.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Revenue Minister Amin Gandapur's car was stopped at a checkpost and searched. The car was impounded and Gandapur's driver was detained by police, DawnNews reported. Police, however, let Gandapur go.

Gandapur rejected police claims, saying he was travelling with two licensed Kalashnikovs, and that there was a license present in the car. Police recovered the license, he claimed, adding that the police let him go.

Gandapur seen running on the road heading towards Bani Gala.

In a video circulating on social media, Gandapur was seen running on the road heading towards Bani Gala, allegedly after his car was stopped and searched by police officials

The authorities, on Sunday evening, allowed women supporters of PTI to reach Bani Gala.

Emotions run high as PTI supporters head towards Bani Gala despite police preventing people from making their way to the area.

Police arrested over 100 PTI protesters trying to reach party chief Imran Khan's Bani Gala residence in Islamabad's Rukhsana Bangash Road area, DawnNews reported. Police also baton-charged protesters in the Pakistan Chowk area.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan speaking to the press on Sunday urged party workers to reach Bani Gala even if they had to climb mountains to do so. Protesters will then move onto Islamabad on Nov 2 for the party's planned 'lockdown' of the capital, he said.

Police attempted to prevent protesters from trying to reach Bani Gala via lesser-known unpaved routes running through the wilderness by surrounding them on all sides. Protesters began stoning police and setting fires in the wilderness, after which police resorted to tear gas shelling.

Police recover weapons, alcohol from Amin Gandapur's car.

A contingent of police led by Senior Superintendent Police Operations Sajid Kiyani used tear gas against protesters who were stoning them. Tear gas shelling has now subsided and workers armed with sticks are waiting for a signal on how to proceed.

As police plan a comprehensive operation in Bani Gala, reports claim that only officials and MNAs are being let into the area. Residents are also being let in after showing ID cards, but workers are not being allowed to get in.

Television footage showed a female worker face-to-face with police. "Check my bag, there is no security issue ─ I am a Pakistani," she said. "I will go inside at any cost."

Two police check posts have been set up to monitor the situation ─ one at Bani Gala and the second at Insaf House, DawnNews reported.

Protesters set fire in wilderness near Bani Gala.

You can't stop us: Shireen Mazari

PTI leader Shireen Mazari speaking to journalists said police tried to stop her from reaching Bani Gala. "I moved a barrier on rollers myself... and cleared a path."

She asked police not to touch her or a lady MNA accompanying her at the site.

Shireen Mazari addresses journalists near Bani Gala.

"Nisar what inappropriate acts are the police committing? This is our democratic right. We don't have weapons or sticks, you can't stop us," she said, addressing the interior minister.

"Shahbaz Sharif, do what you want. We will see how you try to stop us."

"It is our democratic right," she maintained, to go to Bani Gala. "We will come to Bani Gala every day, leave at night and then return the next morning."

Mazari said she did not expect that Shahbaz Sharif or Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar would allow their fellow MNAs to be "tortured by police".

"The more you harass us, the more we will be committed to our cause," she said.

'PTI has a plan'

PTI's Ali Zaidi speaking to claimed police had surrounded the area around Bani Gala and were "not letting food, water or people come here."

"We have invited all PTI workers from across the country to Bani Gala and then we will reach Islamabad on Nov 2. We have a plan and a strategy," Zaidi said.

Although the government has closed roads near Attock, no other roads in the province have been blocked 'completely', according to Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah. Snap-checking of those heading towards Islamabad is being carried out.

The provincial government has also imposed Section 144, banning public gatherings across Punjab until Nov 8.

Uncertainty grips PTI workers

Three days before Imran Khan’s plan to siege Islamabad, confusion prevails in the party about the venue where workers will assemble.

A senior PTI leader earlier told Dawn there is no coordination between the leadership and the workers and the latter have to go to the Banigala mansion of Imran Khan to get information. Workers have also been asked to watch private TV channels to get updates on the situation.

PTI Spokesman Naeemul Haq told Dawn earlier, “The problem is the government is taking action against the workers and it will be difficult for the workers to gather at one point on November 2. The workers will be asked to gather at the point where the police would stop them from entering Islamabad.”

Read more: Uncertainty grips PTI workers as Nov 2 approaches

PTI 'lockdown'

The party has announced a 'lockdown' of the capital on Nov 2 if Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif doesn’t agree to an investigation into the Panama Papers leaks under the terms of reference proposed by the opposition or resigns from his position.

However, the PTI has apparently offered the government a way out of the prevailing crisis, suggesting that it enact legislation to constitute a judicial commission to probe the Panamagate scandal before Nov 2.

PTI Vice-Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Saturday told Dawn the government still has time to prevent the situation from worsening by convening sessions of the National Assembly and the Senate in order to pass the opposition-sponsored bill on the Panama Papers leak.

“If the government is serious, it can even promulgate an ordinance for the constitution of an inquiry commission under the terms of reference (ToR) unanimously presented by all opposition parties,” Qureshi said.

Read more: PTI offers govt a way out?


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