Lahore High Court Orders to Suspend the Operation
The Lahore High Court (LHC) has ordered the police to suspend their operation outside Zaman Park in Lahore after clashes between law enforcement personnel and supporters of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan. The operation was initiated on Tuesday to arrest Khan in connection with the Toshakhana case, but the police were ordered to stop until Thursday at 10 am. The court’s decision came after PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry filed a petition seeking to stop the “atrocities” outside Zaman Park. The court has summoned the Punjab inspector-general, chief secretary and Islamabad police (operations) head to appear in court today.
Khan had donned a gas mask and addressed his supporters at Zaman Park, but later appeared without it. In a tweet, he accused the establishment of bias and neutrality, and questioned the use of force against unarmed protesters. He also claimed that the police had shelled the house where women and servants were present.
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has reserved its verdict regarding Imran’s plea against his non-bailable arrest warrant. The chief justice of IHC heard the case. Khan has been demanding a snap election in protest rallies across the country since his ouster from office in a parliamentary vote last year. However, PM Shehbaz Sharif has said the vote will be held as scheduled later this year.
On Tuesday, police attempted to arrest Khan in the Toshakhana case, but PTI workers clashed with law enforcement. Protesters hurled stones at police and attacked them with sticks. Anti-riots police arrested a few PTI workers, but Imran’s arrest was not made until late on Tuesday night. Multiple cities erupted with protests as party supporters gathered to condemn the police operation against Imran.
In the Toshakhana case, a district and sessions court rejected Imran’s exemption application and upheld the non-bailable arrest warrant issued for him over his persistent absence in the case hearings. A warrant was also issued against him in a case related to remarks made about additional sessions Judge, Islamabad, Zeba Chaudhry. However, the court suspended this warrant on Tuesday and barred police from arresting the former prime minister until March 16.
The situation remains tense in Lahore as supporters of Imran Khan gather outside his residence. The court’s decision to suspend the police operation has provided some respite, but the government’s handling of the situation has been criticized for its use of force against unarmed protesters. The court’s verdict in the IHC will be crucial in determining the next steps in the case.
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