A protest broke out outside the Zaman Park residence of former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan after police reached the spot to arrest him after the cancellation of his protective bail in a case pertaining to protests outside the office of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
A caravan of police appeared outside his residence on Thursday for arrest and as the words spread, scores of people from the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) started turning up in numbers, chanting slogans to resist his arrest.
A Pakistani anti-terrorism court here on Wednesday rejected the bail of former prime minister Imran Khan for failing to attend the court hearing of a case linked to protests outside the election commission, a ruling which could lead to his arrest.
PTI activists staged a protest after Khan was disqualified by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in the prohibited funding case last year.
Meanwhile, heavy police deployment remained in force in the area. A long line of police vehicles and prisoner transport vans could be seen on the route leading to Zaman Park.
PTI leader Musarat Jamshaid Cheema said the entire nation would take to the streets if the government tried to arrest the PTI leader. As reported by Dawn, Cheema said that all women, belonging to respected families, sitting outside Khan's residence were holding clubs and sticks for their safety. They demanded that if Khan was arrested, then they would begin a 'Jail Bharo' campaign.
Taking to Twitter, Cheema said, "People are being harassed at night by illegally blocking the roads, but those who have put up these obstacles for our brave workers are not going to stop and bow down. We have removed all obstacles and reached Zaman Park, all the workers should also reach soon, we will fight this fascism together."
غیر قانونی طور پر راستے بند کر کے لوگوں کو رات کے اس پہر تنگ کیا جا رہا لیکن جن ہمارے شیر دل کارکنان کیلئے یہ رکاوٹیں لگائی گئی ہیں وہ ایسے رکنے اور جھکنے والے نہیں۔— Musarrat Cheema (@MusarratCheema) February 16, 2023
ہم تمام رکاوٹیں ہٹا کر زمان پارک پہنچ گئے ہیں، تمام کارکنان بھی جلد پہنچیں، ہم ملکر اس فسطائیت کا مقابلہ کریں گے۔ pic.twitter.com/aj2hBEV6Wm
In October last year, Police launched a case under the anti-terrorism laws and the former premier was on interim bail in the case.
On Wednesday, Judge Raja Jawad Abbas of Anti Terrorism Court (ATC) in Islamabad remarked that Khan had been given enough time to appear before the court but he had failed to do so while his lawyer Babar Awan in his arguments urged the court to grant a one-time exemption from in-person appearance as Khan had not recovered from a gun attack of last year.
The judge refused to accept the plea and ordered that Khan should appear by stating that the court cannot give any relief to a “powerful person” like Khan which is not given to a common person.
Finally, the judge refused to extend the interim bail, leaving the 70-year-old cricketer-turned-politician, who survived an assassination attempt in November last year, vulnerable to police arrest.