LAHORE: Chanting slogans, hundreds of workers of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) reached the Zaman Park residence of Imran Khan on Thursday evening after cancellation of his protective bail in a case pertaining to protests outside the office of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
Two days ago, an anti-terrorism court (ATC) had rejected Khan’s request for an extension to his interim bail for non-appearance in a protest case outside the ECP after his disqualification in the Toshakhana case.
On Thursday, the Lahore High Court (LHC) dismissed Khan’s petition for protective bail and the PTI workers, including women and children, started gathering at Zaman Park to thwart any attempt by the police to arrest their party chairman.
A large number of the PTI workers have already been camping outside the house of former prime minister Mr Khan at Zaman Park for several days where their leader has been staying after suffering injuries in an assassination attempt on him in Wazirabad during a march on Islamabad. The workers were continuously chanting slogans against the government and police.
PTI leader Musarat Jamshaid Cheema said the entire nation would take to the streets if the government tried to arrest the PTI leader. She said all the women sitting outside the house of Mr Khan were holding clubs and sticks for their safety and the women there were not criminals but belonged to respected families. She said it would not be easy to arrest Mr Khan and they would also start a ‘Jail Bharo’ campaign.
PTI’s social media focal person Azhar Mashwani told Dawn thousands of the PTI workers were permanently camping outside the house of Imran Khan to thwart any arrest attempt. He said the workers residing at Zaman Park were working in shifts to stay outside the house of Mr Khan at Zaman Park and they would come in shifts from different areas of the country.
While talking to the media, other workers said they would not allow anyone to arrest Imran Khan and would foil any attempt to arrest him. They said they would not leave the site and the government would have to first arrest all of them before reaching their leader. They said they were followers of Khan who taught them how to resist the forces currently ruling the country. They said the PDM government would commit a mistake if it arrested Mr Khan as a million people would gather to save him. They warned if police tried to enter Zaman Park, it could result in a Model Town type incident.
Published in Dawn, February 17th, 2023
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