• Lahore, Quetta police register cases against PTI leaders, supporters
• Family members among dozens held in Islamabad, Lahore
• Police conduct late-night raids on houses of Shibli, two ex-MNAs

ISLAMABAD / LAHORE: Dozens of PTI workers and family members of some leaders were either picked up or harassed during late-night police raids on their houses hours after party Chairman Imran Khan and others were booked in two terrorism cases by the Islamabad police whereas the Lahore police registered three cases against hundreds of party men.

The raids were conducted at the houses of Senator Shibli Faraz, and former MNAs Ali Nawaz Awan and Raja Khurram Nawaz in Islamabad.

Earlier, the FIRs registered at the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) and the Golra Police Station, claimed that the PTI leaders and workers attacked the police and created unrest outside the Federal Judicial Complex, Islamabad, during the hearing of the Toshakhana case on Saturday.

The FIRs against the PTI chief and other leaders included Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act and sections 148, 149, 186, 353, 380, 395, 427, 435, 440, and 506 of the Pakistan Penal Code. The FIRs alleged that PTI workers set vehicles on fire and stole weapons and a wireless set from a police vehicle.

PTI leaders Asad Umar, Asad Qaiser, Hammad Azhar, Ali Amin Gandapur, Ali Nawaz Awan, Murad Saeed, Shibli Faraz, Hassaan Khan Niazi, Omer Ayub Khan, Amjad Khan Niazi, Khurram Nawaz, Jamshed Mughal, Aamir Kiyani, Farrukh Habib, Dr Shehzad Waseem, Umer Sultan, and Imran Khan’s Chief Security Officer Muhammad Asim were among those nominated in the cases.

Separately, the Shalimar police picked up eight more PTI supporters shortly after the police detained over 60 workers who were sent to Adiala Jail on Sunday.

During clashes with PTI workers on Saturday, 52 officials of law enforcement agencies were injured, according to police. Similarly, Islamabad police’s 12 vehicles, Punjab police, and FC’s three vehicles were damaged partially and four vehicles were burned, police said.

Crackdown in Lahore

In a bid to stop the crackdown, the PTI approached the Lahore High Court on Sunday but its lawyers were told to come back on Monday.

All three FIRs were registered with the Race Course Police Station on the complaint of the police officials under ATA and various charges of PPC. Officials said PTI workers attacked the police, snatched official weapons, and committed rioting, terrorism, attempted murder, robbery etc.

According to an FIR lodged by Inspector Zufliqar Ali, 300 PTI workers attacked the police team when it arrived Zaman Park along with a search warrant on Saturday. Thirteen police were injured, he said, adding the police managed to arrest 76 of them, and recovered from them eight rifles, petrol bombs besides live bullets.

Constable Shafiq in a separate FIR alleged that nearly 40 PTI workers attacked and injured him when he was discharging his duty.

A constable of Elite Force, Shahzad Ahmad, also registered a case alleging that 100-150 PTI workers attacked the police, damaged an official vehicle, and pushed it into the Lahore canal. Reports claimed that the teams dispatched by Lahore Investigation DIG Sohail Akhtar Sukhera arrested several PTI workers in the wake of new FIRs. The police teams were given directions to make “maximum arrests”.

Earlier, the Lahore police presented in a court 102 PTI workers and obtained one-day physical remand. The party workers were arrested after FIRs registered at the Race Course police station.

The court directed the police to present the suspects in an anti-terrorism court as well, as the police had also mentioned terrorism charges against them besides 13 sections of PPC.

In Quetta, the police registered an FIR against PTI leaders and supporters for blocking several roads which resulted in gridlocks.

Sections 341, 147, 149, and 153 of PPC were included in the FIR lodged on the complaint of Airport Road police station SHO.

Late-night crackdown

During an action on Sunday night, the Islamabad police raided the houses of PTI leaders and workers for their arrest, failing which they picked up their family members.

According to reports, Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani expressed concern over the raid on Senator Faraz’s house. Mr Faraz was injured on Saturday and admitted to a hospital.

A police team reached the house of former UC Chairman Anjum Shahzad Tanoli and arrested his 13-year-old son.

The house of former UC Chairman Nouman Gujjar was also raided and his father was arrested.

In Lahore, the police reportedly scaled boundary walls of residences of several PTI workers to arrest them.

Saleem Shahid in Quetta also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, March 20th, 2023

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