ISLAMABAD: As Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan returned to his Banigala residence on Sunday after weeks-long stay in Peshawar, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah warned that security personnel given to the former prime minister for security purpose would arrest him when his pre-arrest bail expired.
In a series of tweets, Mr Sanaullah said Mr Khan had been nominated as accused in over a dozen cases of rioting, sedition, chaos and armed attacks on the federation, and members of security forces deployed at his Banigala residence (according to law) would arrest him on the expiry of his protective bail granted by the court.
The minister said that security being provided to the PTI chief was in accordance with the law.
“How can a man become the head of a political party in a democratic society who instigates people to violate law and who has complete disregard of moral and democratic values and terms his opponents traitors?” the interior minister asked.
On the other hand, PTI leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the entire country was listening to threats given by Mr Sanaullah, but warned that Mr Khan’s arrest would trigger a severe backlash in the country.
Talking to media after PTI’s core committee meeting, presided over by party chairman Imran Khan, Mr Qureshi told party workers: “If you get news of Mr Khan’s arrest, respond immediately and there should be a severe backlash.”
The PTI vice chairman said that a new storm of inflation was hitting the country, triggered by unprecedented hike of Rs60 per litre in prices of petroleum products within a week, announced by the government.
The PTI chief stayed in Peshawar instead of his Banigala residence since the launching of PTI’s ‘Haqiqi Azadi March’ on May 25, but it was called off abruptly the next day.
The PTI workers and police clashed in Islamabad and other parts of the country during the march and Mr Khan and other top leaders of the party were booked in a number of cases registered at multiple police stations across Islamabad over allegations of arson and vandalism.
Mr Khan was granted pre-arrest bail until June 25 by the Peshawar High Court, but he was instructed to appear in the Islamabad sessions court before the expiry of his pre-arrest bail.
On late Saturday night, the Islamabad police said that in the view of Mr Khan’s expected arrival, security around his Banigala residence had been increased.
Later, PTI leader Shahbaz Gill told journalists outside the Banigala residence that the party had arranged its own security for Imran Khan in the light of the statements given by Mr Sanaullah.
Published in Dawn, June 6th, 2022
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