ISLAMABAD/KARACHI/LAHORE: Police from across the country registered dozens of cases against PTI leaders and workers for violations of Section 144 as well as other, more serious violations, in the wake of the party’s long march, which was cut short by PTI chief Imran Khan on Thursday morning.

In the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, capital police registered at least three cases against PTI leaders and activists for putting up resistance against law enforcers and damaging state property.

Although the charges incl­uded setting fire to metro bus stations, a visit to all four stations on Jinnah Avenue on Thursday reve­aled that all were undamaged.

All three cases were registered at Kohsar police station and a total of 75 persons had been arrested, police said.

A capital police officer told Dawn that total 22 personnel — 11 from Islamabad police, nine Rangers and one each from FC and Punjab police — were injured during clashes.

In Rawalpindi, more than 450 PTI and Awami Muslim League leaders were booked and seven arrested in three separate incidents. An FIR was registered with New Town police on the complaint of sub-inspector Ijaz Ahmad against seven people who ignored police warnings to disperse.

Foot constable Mohammad Farooque lodged a case with Waris Khan police over a gathering in Pindi’s Bohr Bazar, while another FIR with Sadiqabad police nominated 200 PTI activists on charges of damaging public property and smashing the win­dow panes of a metro bus station.

Clashes in Lahore

In Lahore, which saw pitched battles between PTI marchers and police on the city’s roads, Punjab police registered a total of 42 criminal cases against PTI’s senior leaders and workers for agitation over the past three days, across the province.

So far, 248 PTI leaders and workers have been arrested on multiple charges, including attacks on law enforcement agencies, including 69 from Lahore and 30 from Sialkot.

Punjab police data suggested that three police officials had been martyred in the line of duty while 100 others injured, three of them seriously, in attacks by PTI workers. Of them, 34 personnel were injured in Lahore, 48 in Attock and nine in Sargodha, Mianwali, Rawal­pindi, Jhelum and other cities.

On the other hand, PTI leaders in Punjab also claimed that dozens of party workers were injured due police brutality.

A police official told Dawn that 12 cases were registered in Lahore, five in Sialkot, four each in Rawalpindi and Sargodha, three in Mianwali, two each in Attock and Jehlum, while one FIR was lodged in Chakwal.

Karachi flare-up

Police sources told Dawn that as many as 34 FIRs were registered against PTI leaders and workers in the country’s largest city over violation of Section 144. So far, 198 persons have been arrested, including 104 in South zone alone.

At least one case was registered against PTI lawmakers over terror charges following violence at Numaish Chowrangi on Wednesday.

Soldier Bazaar SHO Waqar Azeem said that the case had been registered against PTI lawmakers and other leaders, including Ali Zaidi, Khurram Sher Zaman. They are charged with attempted murder, acts of arson and terrorism.

The FIR states that around 600-700 PTI workers reached Numaish Chowrangi on Wednesday and committed acts of arson. Police claimed some of them were armed with weapons, while others attacked law enforcers with sticks and stones.

One person, Azhar Ahmed, is said to have suffered bullet wounds from alleged firing by PTI supporters, who also set a police van on fire. However, no one has been arrested in this case so far.

PTI’s Ali Zaidi had claimed on Wednesday night that two of their workers were shot dead by police firing, but a police statement issued on Thursday denied the accusation, saying no one was killed during the violence.

“During the PTI’s protest in Karachi, three police officers and two citizens were injured,” the police statement said.

Separately, a local court relea­sed around 20 PTI activists who were detained for violating Section 144, from Numaish. The suspects were produced before the judicial magistrate south and their remand was sought for interrogation. However, the defence opposed the request.

Gujar Khan

Former federal minister Fawad Chaudhry, his younger brother, and 200 others have been booked for provoking people against the government in the jurisdiction of Mangla police in district Jhelum.

The case has been registered against Mr Chaudhry, his younger brother Faraz, and 150-200 other unidentified suspects on the complaint of SHO Mangla Cantt Sajid Mehmood.

Police claimed in the FIR that upon told their rally was against the law, the PTI supporters became violent and started pelting policemen with stones.

“The rally participants were also equipped with weapons and gave life threats,” the FIR said.

Jhelum police spokesperson Ahsan Butt told Dawn on Thursday that no raids or arrests had been made in connection with the case, so far.

Hamid Asghar in Gujar Khan, Mohammad Asghar in Rawalpindi and Naeem Sahoutara in Karachi also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, May 27th, 2022

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