The police in Lahore on Thursday booked Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan and 400 others on the charges of murder and terrorism during their clash with police personnel during the party's rally that left one activist dead and scores injured.
This is the 80th case against ousted prime minister Khan registered by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)-led coalition government during its 11 months of rule. Police on Wednesday allegedly killed PTI activist Ali Bilal and injured over a dozen during a crackdown outside Khan's residence from where they were to take out a pro-judiciary rally. The police also arrested over 100 PTI workers.
The cricketer-turned-politician uploaded the brutal torture of PTI workers on social media and said, "This is what the corrupt and murderous cabal of crooks have wrought on the nation. They have violated our Constitution, fundamental rights, and the rule of law. Innocent, unarmed PTI workers, including women, were targets of police violence and brutality with one worker murdered while in custody."
Ali Bilal unarmed & our dedicated & passionate PTI worker murdered by Punjab police. Shameful, this brutality on unarmed PTI workers who were coming to attend election rally. Pakistan is in the grip of murderous criminals. We will file cases against IG, CCPO & others for murder. pic.twitter.com/BLQZE1uejr— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) March 8, 2023
The FIR said 11 police officials were injured in the clash with PTI workers who hurled stones at them and six PTI workers also suffered injuries.
Senior PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry on Thursday said instead of registering an FIR against the policemen and their bosses for killing the PTI worker on the complaint of his family, the police have booked 70-year-old Khan and 400 others in his murder. Fawad Chaudhry, Farukh Habib, Hammad Azhar, and Mahmoodur Rashid are among other PTI leaders named in the FIR.
The ousted premier asked the party supporters across the country to offer funeral prayers in the absentia of the killed worker. The PTI had announced that it would register a murder case against Punjab caretaker chief minister Mohsin Naqvi, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, Punjab IGP Usman Anwar, and Lahore police chief Bilal Saddique Kamyana.
Meanwhile, the Punjab IGP has formed a two-member committee to conduct an inquiry into the police clash with PTI workers outside Zaman Park. Police on Wednesday fired tear gas and used water cannons to disperse PTI activists. The party claimed that its "peaceful" workers were arrested after reports emerged that the provincial capital had been placed under Section 144, banning public gatherings.
After the bloody clashes between police and his party workers, Khan called off the party's "pro judiciary" rally from his Zaman Park residence to Data Darbar. Khan said the government wants an excuse to delay the elections in Punjab and for this, it needs dead bodies. "Police have picked up our 100 workers. We will not let the government and its handlers succeed in its nefarious design," he said.
Last Sunday, police failed to arrest Khan primarily because of the resistance of a large number of PTI workers outside his residence. Khan has been in the crosshairs for buying gifts, including an expensive Graff wristwatch he had received as the premier at a discounted price from the state depository called Toshakhana, and selling them for profit.
President Dr. Arif Alvi has announced April 30 for elections in Punjab in line with the Supreme Court's order. The PML-N-led ruling coalition in the Centre has openly declared that the elections will not be held. The Punjab caretaker government has imposed a ban on public gatherings in Lahore.