GB police chief transferred after claims of force’s involvement in ‘assault’ on Punjab police in Lahore clashes

Published March 15, 2023
A picture of newly appointed Gilgit Baltistan Inspector General of Police (IGP) Dar Ali Khan Khattak (L) and former IGP Muhammad Saeed (R). — Photo by author/GB police website
A picture of newly appointed Gilgit Baltistan Inspector General of Police (IGP) Dar Ali Khan Khattak (L) and former IGP Muhammad Saeed (R). — Photo by author/GB police website

The federal government on Wednesday transferred Gilgit-Baltistan Inspector General of Police (IGP) Muhammad Saeed from his post in the wake of the information minister’s claim that GB police force was being used against Punjab police in the latter’s attempt to arrest PTI chief Imran Khan from his Zaman Park residence in Lahore.

Saeed was ordered to report to the Establishment Division with immediate effect until further orders, according to a notification from the division.

A separate notification said that Dar Ali Khan Khattak was now transferred and posted as the GB IGP with immediate effect.

Earlier in the day, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb claimed that a “Gilgit-Baltistan force” was being used to attack Punjab police “who are trying to implement court orders to detain Imran Khan”.

Her news conference came as clashes between PTI workers and law enforcers took place outside Imran’s Zaman Park residence as police were attempting to detain the PTI chief in pursuance of the arrest warrants issued by a local court in Islamabad on Monday.

Earlier today, the PTI alleged that the party chief’s Lahore residence was “under extreme attack” as it posted footage of armed law enforcement personnel opening fire, which could not be independently verified by Dawn.com and it could not be ascertained if it was from today.

 Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb addresses a news conference on Wednesday. — DawnNewsTV
Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb addresses a news conference on Wednesday. — DawnNewsTV

At a news conference, Aurangzeb said Imran wanted unrest and anarchy in the country.

She refuted the allegations of the government’s involvement in attempting to arrest Imran. She stated that the PTI chief was wanted in several cases, including threatening a judge, foreign funding, and Tyrian White and Toshakhana.

The information minister accused the PTI chairman of using women and children as human shields outside Zaman Park during the clashes.

She further waved a copy of the warrant issued against Imran and claimed that at least 65 policemen were injured while attempting to implement the court orders.

Aurangzeb claimed that a Gilgit-Baltistan force was being utilised to attack Punjab police, while also insisting that the law enforcement officials were unarmed.

She also stressed that the law enforcement officials were merely carrying out court orders to apprehend an accused individual, who would call himself “brave” but was now hiding in his residence.

Aurangzeb expressed regret over the ongoing situation and suggested that it could have been avoided had the court ordered Imran’s arrest earlier.

She urged the PTI chief to appear before the court and provide clarification instead of resorting to violent tactics.

The minister demanded that all citizens should receive similar treatment if they violate court orders, as Imran had allegedly done.

She also urged the media to fact-check before reporting on the claims made by the former prime minister.

She emphasised that the warrants against Imran had been issued by the court and that the police were merely implementing them.

The minister further claimed that Imran’s political career was over. She went on to express her dismay, stating that this situation was a joke to the law and courts.

In an interview with DawnNewsTV on Wednesday, Punjab Inspector General Usman Anwar said that since yesterday, 54 policemen had been “seriously injured” in clashes with PTI workers, while 32 officers were given first aid by Rescue 1122.

He said that there was no “operation” underway outside the Zaman Park residence and that the police personnel were being stoned by PTI supporters. Even vehicles of law enforcement agencies were burnt down.

GB CM rejects govt’s allegations

Separately, GB Chief Minister Khalid Khursheed rejected the allegations levelled by the government, terming them “baseless”. Speaking to Dawn.com on the phone, he said that the GB police force was not being used against anyone.

He said he arrived at Zaman Park on Tuesday to meet PTI chief Imran, adding that the Punjab police had cleared a route for him despite the operation that was under way to arrest the ex-premier.

“At present, the responsibility of [ensuring] my security falls with the Punjab police. My own security was removed upon reaching Zaman Park,” he said, adding that his security detail was stationed at a distance of six kilometres by the Punjab police.

“I have to go to Islamabad and then GB but the Punjab police is not clearing a route [for me],” he said.

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