Pak police file fresh cases against Imran Khan, close aide Qureshi. Top updates

In the midst of the non-bailable arrest warrants in the Toshakhana case, the Pakistan federal capital police has now booked former Prime Minister and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan and his close aide, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, along with dozens of supporters in three separate cases pertaining to terrorism, Dawn has reported.

As per the report, Islamabad police registered four separate cases against PTI leaders, activists and supporters on different charges, including Anti-Terrorism Act, and arrested over two dozen people.

These new cases came at a time when former Pakistan PM is already facing non-bailable arrest warrants in the Toshakhana case.

As per the Dawn report, the FIR was registered with Bhara Kahu police station, where Hamid Zaman Kiani, Naseem Abbasi, Shaikh Liaqat and Chaudhry Tariq, along with 40 unidentified persons, were booked on the charges of creating a civil commotion, and 21(i) (aid and abetment), along with Section 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) and many more.

Seeing the situation in Pakistan, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman Mehbooba Mufti compared the situation in Kashmir post abrogation of Article 370. She said that the prevailing situation in Pakistan where police are attempting to arrest ex-prime minister Imran Khan was no different from Jammu and Kashmir where leaders have also been put behind bars post abrogation of Article 370. “It’s really bad (Pakistan police trying to arrest former PM, Imran Khan). Ex-ministers, Ministers are also being put behind bars here in our country. So it’s not a different issue,” PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti as quoted by ANI.

Also Read: Economic crisis: Pak ministers unwilling to return luxury cars, still using SUVs…

She also went and said that the way federal investigative agencies were being “misused”, and opposition leaders were put behind bars, which indicates that the prevailing situation here “can be compared” with Pakistan. Mufti also cited example of former Delhi Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia who has been arrested by CBI during its probe into the alleged irregularities in the Delhi excise policy case.

Meanwhile, the two-day-long clash between former Pakistan Prime Minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) workers with its chairman Imran Khan’s supporters and the law enforcers at the Zaman Park deepened the ongoing political and economic crisis of the country, as reported by The Nation. Clashes broke out on Tuesday after the police stormed Khan’s residence to arrest him to execute a non-bailable arrest warrant issued by a local court of Islamabad in the Toshakhana case. Scores of people, including police personnel and PTI workers, were injured in the process as the law enforcers fired teargas and party supporters resorted to throwing Molotov cocktails.

Speaking of the report by Dawn, the FIR registered at Khanna and Bhara Kahu police stations blamed Imran Khan and Shah Mehmood Qureshi for the action of PTI activists. The complainants stated that the PTI activists intimidated shopkeepers and forcefully shut down their shops. The PTI workers announced that they were obeying the orders of Imran Khan and Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Islamabad High court rejected the PTI chairman’s plea seeking the suspension of non-bailable arrest warrants issued in the Toshakhana case, Geo News reported.

Additional District and Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal announced the verdict reserved earlier redirecting the authorities concerned to arrest the former prime minister and present him before the court on March 18.

Legal proceedings against Khan began after he was ousted from office in a parliamentary vote early last year. Since then, he has held nationwide protest rallies demanding a snap election, during one of which he was shot and wounded.

The Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan (SCBAP) also issued a a statement condemning the human rights violations, that were committed by the law enforcement agencies on Wednesday. Appreciating their condemnation, Khan tweeted, “I want to thank the SCBAP for their strong position on upholding of Constitution and rule of law. We appreciate your condemnation of excessive use of force by authorities at Zaman Park. My Party was founded on principle of rule of law & we continue to stand by this commitment.”

In the statement by the SCBAP, it stated, “The SCBAP stands for the rule of law and the Constitution and respect of the judgement of the Courts. We are condemning all violations of any human right and excesses committed by the law enforcement agencies for taking laws in their own hand.”

The statement further read, “Any form of violence is not acceptable in a democratic nation governed by the rule of law & the Constitution. The police excess being committed in Lahore to arrest the former Prime Minister in a warrant issued by a Magistrate is excessive and not according to the law and sheer violation of fundamental rights of the citizens of the nation.”

Pakistan’s economy is struggling, and the country is waiting for a much-needed USD 1.1 billion tranche of funding from the IMF, which is based in Washington. The crisis-hit country has implemented a series of policy measures including increased taxes, higher energy prices, and increasing interest rates to the highest in 25 years to unlock funding from its stalled IMF $6.5 billion loan program.

(With inputs from ANI)

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