Police to present 102 detained PTI workers before Lahore ATC tomorrow

Published March 19, 2023
Riot police detain a supporter of Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan, in Lahore on March 18, 2023, whilst Khan was leaving for Islamabad to appear in a court. — AFP
Riot police detain a supporter of Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan, in Lahore on March 18, 2023, whilst Khan was leaving for Islamabad to appear in a court. — AFP

A Lahore court on Sunday directed the police to present 102 detained PTI workers before an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) tomorrow, a day after they were arrested during the raid that took place at PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s Zaman Park residence when the police forced its way into his house.

Judicial Magistrate Ghulam Rasool of Lahore’s Cantt Katcheri court presided over the hearing today.

As Magistrate Ghulam Rasool directed the police to present the suspects before the ATC tomorrow because they had been booked on terror charges, he granted the police a one-day remand of the arrested PTI supporters.

Upon the hearing’s conclusion, the police took the suspects back amid high security.

Separately, unidentified PTI workers were booked on terror charges in a first information report (FIR) filed by a police official at Lahore’s Race Course police station.

Filed by Lahore Elite Force official Shehzada Ahmed Ali in the early hours of Sunday, the FIR accused PTI workers of stopping his government vehicle and raising slogans against state institutions.

It stated that as soon as the Elite Force’s car arrived at Canal Road near Zaman Park, “around 100-150 PTI workers armed with fire weapons [and] sticks came in front altogether and forcefully stopped the government vehicle”.

The FIR alleged that the workers hit the car with sticks and caused great damage.

Ali also alleged that one of the party workers stole the valuables the elite force personnel had with them — including bullet-proof jackets, helmets, wireless sets and mobile phones — “using weapon’s force”.

The complaint invoked sections 109 (punishment of abetment if the act abetted committed In consequence and where no express provision is made for its punishment) 120B (punishment of criminal conspiracy), 147 (punishment for rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with a deadly weapon), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 290 (punishment for public nuisance in cases not otherwise provided for), 291 (continuance of nuisance after injunction to discontinue), 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 395 (punishment for dacoity), 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees), and 440 (mischief committed after preparation made for causing death or hurt) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

It also included Section 7 (punishment for acts of terrorism) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

Clashes outside Imran’s residence

On Friday, the LHC had allowed Punjab Inspector General Dr Usman Anwar to search Imran’s Zaman Park residence for an investigation into attacks on police teams when they had gone there to execute warrants issued by an Islamabad court for Imran’s arrest in the Toshakhana case.

On Saturday, the Punjab police had used heavy machinery to break into Imran’s Zaman Park residence — while his wife and sister were inside — soon after the PTI chairman left for Islamabad to attend a hearing in the Toshakhana case.

Talking to reporters, Dr Uzma Khanum — sister of the former premier — while complaining about the police “highhandedness”, had said the police carried out the operation without warrants and harassed women and tortured servants.

Dr Kha­num had said the policemen “seemed blood-thirsty” as they brutally thrashed un­­a­rmed people in the house and alleged that the pol­ice also abducted her hus­­­band and some servants.

The PTI leadership had also strongly condemned the “state terrorism” launched at Imran’s house which they said was part of the agenda set by PML-N Chief Organiser Maryam Nawaz to arrest Imran.

Fawad had said the operation was in sheer violation of the LHC’s orders as the police did not inform the court’s nominated focal person Imran Kishwar before the raid.

He had further said the residence’s gates were razed with the help of excavators, while police officials scaled walls and tortured people inside the house.

Additionally, a day ago, Punjab Inspector General (IG) Dr Usman Anwar said that “ammunition” — including petrol bombs — was recovered from Imran’s Zaman Park residence in Lahore during the police raid.

He had said the police arrested people who were involved in “firing slingshots and pelting stones” on the police and cases under Section 7 of the ATA were registered against them.

Caretaker Punjab Information Minister Amir Mir had also said that cases were registered against the “rioting elements” as they had caused great damage to property.

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