PTI protesters in Swabi flee from tear gas.

The convoy of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) protesters from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa led by Chief Minister Pervez Khattak is returning towards Swabi after withdrawing their efforts to push through blockades in order to reach Bani Gala.

The convoy will make its way to Islamabad again later in the day after regrouping and getting rest, KP government spokesman Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani told DawnNews.

The decision to retreat to Swabi was made on the advice of party chairman Imran Khan after "brutal use of tear gas by Punjab police".

Ghani said the PTI chief will advise the protesters in a couple of hours when they should start moving again, and the convoy could then opt for one of the many "unknown" routes to Bani Gala. He said 15 protesters were injured due to police tear gas shelling.

PTI protesters, while battling tear gas and obstacles, earlier managed to push through the main blockade set-up near Swabi and Burhan interchanges on their way towards the federal capital.

CM Khattak had vowed to move towards Islamabad with his convoy of PTI supporters which earlier came under intense tear gas shelling on Haroonabad bridge in Swabi.

Later, the convoy led by Khattak reached Burhan interchange, where PTI workers were again briefly shelled with tear gas. Punjab Police Inspector General (IG) Mushtaq Ahmad Sukhera was also present on the spot to supervise police forces.

"We will go to Islamabad, no matter what it takes," says Pervez Khattak.

The activists used cranes as night fell to remove the various obstacles and containers placed on the route to Islamabad.

PTI chairman Imran Khan lauded the efforts of Pervez Khattak, who is battling hard to find a way to Islamabad.

Imran also requested the party supporters in Attock, Taxila, Hassanabdal and Tarnol to welcome Khattak and his caravan upon their arrival.

Meanwhile, Awami Muslim League Chief Sheikh Rasheed in his tweet urged Imran Khan to come out of his residence in Bani Gala, as the workers await him.

PTI protesters resume trying to remove containers using cranes as night falls.

Police and Frontier Constabulary personnel had earlier used tear gas shells to try and disperse thousands of stick-wielding party workers when they tried to remove barricades put in place by police.

Earlier, TV footage showed protesters fleeing from clouds of tear gas after leaving the cranes where they were. But they have gathered again at the Haroonabad bridge under the command of KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak.

Some protesters also fainted due to the shelling, while others were injured by rubber bullets. Those affected were taken to hospitals, DawnNews reported.

The area is an hour and a half's drive away from the capital.

PTI leaders released after brief detention

Islamabad police take PTI leaders into custody.

PTI leaders Arif Alvi and Imran Ismail were released after a brief detention by Islamabad police on Monday.

The two men were taken into custody near Imran Khan's Bani Gala residence after they threatened to launch a sit-in in the area to protest the arrests of party workers, according to media reports.

Shortly after, the interior ministry ordered the release of the two leaders, ministry sources told Dawn.com.

TV footage showed dramatic scenes as police officers pushed the MNA toward a van and Arif Alvi resisted. Police officers wrestled with Alvi who, at one point, also fell to the ground, but police succeeded in pushing him into the hi-roof van.

Imran Ismail on Twitter said he was "arrested brutally". The PTI leader tweeted a selfie from inside the van in which the two were smiling.

Imran Ismail also tweeted saying the two PTI leaders were taken to the Secretariat police station. However, an official from the police station told Dawn.com that neither PTI leader had been brought into the station.

Arif Alvi, speaking to DawnNews, said they were being transported onwards from the Secretariat police station. He denied the two were in 'protective custody'. The MNA said he was "manhandled and dragged".

"God save anyone who is under the protection of these people," he said.

"There was no point in them stopping us. I was intending to go to Bani Gala and was carrying food with me," Alvi said.

Imran Ismail, speaking to a TV channel, said the two men were "going for a meeting in Bani Gala".

He added that the PTI will not be deterred "no matter how many times we are put into jails".

Footage available with Dawn.com shows police arresting more PTI protesters in the area.

'Roads dug up to stop Imran going to court'

PTI leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi, flanked by MNA Shireen Mazari raised question about blockades placed in and around the capital.

"If containers were removed on your orders yesterday, then on whose orders have they been reinstalled?"

"Why were roads dug up again? The government has destroyed the metal road going to Bani Gala to prevent any vehicle coming or going... Is it to prevent Imran Khan from reaching the court?"

The Supreme Court earlier fixed the date of a hearing for the Panama Papers leaks case for Nov 1, just a day before the party's planned 'lockdown' of the capital.

PTI Spokesman Naeemul Haq urged Islamabad High Court judge Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui to implement his Aug 27 order which, he said, capital police was "blatantly violating".

"The containers have not been removed and people are still being stopped," he said.

Security ramped up to deter protesters

Security along the Peshawar Motorway and Grand Trunk Road has been ramped up in anticipation of a group of PTI protesters marching from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to Islamabad on Monday.

Security arrangements along KP-Islamabad route.

KP Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak speaking to DawnNews said protesters will remove barriers and blockades from their path to reach Bani Gala.

"If anything happens, if one of our people even sustains a scratch, we will go to court and the responsible party will be the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif," he said.

Law enforcement personnel stand ready to face off against protesters, armed with sticks. ─ DawnNews
Law enforcement personnel stand ready to face off against protesters, armed with sticks. ─ DawnNews

PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Sunday urged party workers to reach Bani Gala by Nov 1. Protesters would then move onto Islamabad on Nov 2 for the party's planned 'lockdown' of the capital, he said.

Television footage showed walls of containers blocking Grand Trunk Road, and police and FC men standing at the ready armed with sticks and tear gas.

Two cranes are moving along with a group of PTI protesters from KP to help move containers blocking streets out of the way.

Walls of containers block the road. ─ DawnNews
Walls of containers block the road. ─ DawnNews

Barricades three layers deep were placed along the Peshawar Motorway to deter those marching to Islamabad.

Several ambulances carrying patients and bodies of the dead were stranded on GT road.

DawnNews footage showed a long queue of vehicles, including ambulances, near Attock bridge in KP's Khairabad area.

Nawaz, motu gang cannot compare to our women: Imran

PTI chief Imran Khan on Monday demonstrated his fitness by performing pushups alongside other PTI supporters. Ardent PTI supporter and singer Salman Ahmed also performed pushups alongside Imran Khan.

Read more: Singer Salman Ahmad arrested in Islamabad, manages to escape

Dressed in a tracksuit, the PTI chairman counted the pushups. "I am still not tired," he exclaimed amid loud cheers and clapping.

"Nawaz Sharif and the 'motu gang' cannot even compare to our women," he said.

I drink honey, not alcohol: Gandapur

Police on Monday registered a First Information Report against PTI leader Amin Gandapur, from whose car five Kalashnikov rifles, a pistol, six magazines, a bulletproof vest, alcohol and three tear gas shells were recovered on Sunday.

Gandapur on Monday claimed there was no alcohol in his car. "There was no alcohol in my car. I drink honey," he said.

Police recovered a bottle of alcohol from PTI leader Amin Gandapur's car on Sunday. ─ DawnNews
Police recovered a bottle of alcohol from PTI leader Amin Gandapur's car on Sunday. ─ DawnNews

With additional reporting by Ali Akbar in Peshawar.

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