Supporters of former Pakistan premier Imran Khan on Tuesday clashed with the police outside his residence here to foil his arrest on corruption charges, wounding several policemen and workers of his party and sparking protests in several cities across the country.
Khan in a video message asked his supporters to ”come out” to fight for real freedom and continue the struggle even if he is killed or arrested.
Khan’s video message was released by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on social media as police arrived at his Zaman Park residence to arrest him in the Toshakhana case.
Despite an over eight-hour-long police operation outside the Zaman Park Lahore residence of Imran Khan the police could not arrest him due to strong resistance from PTI workers.
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Scores of PTI workers and policemen suffered injuries in the violent clashes. So far, no casualty has been reported. Police have arrested a number of PTI workers. The PTI workers in huge numbers are braving massive shelling. Zaman Park turned out to be a battleground. Lahore Police chief Bilal Saddique Kamayan said that Lahore police are assisting the Islamabad police in the arrest of Khan.
“We will make sure that the court’s arrest warrants are executed,” he said. Three police vans were present outside Khan’s residence. Police fired tear gas and used water cannons to disperse Khan’s supporters, who reportedly hurled stones at policemen, resulting in injuries.
In the video message, 70-year-old Khan said: ”They (the government) think that after my arrest, the nation will fall asleep. You have to prove them wrong,” 70-year-old Khan said in the video.
”God has given me everything, and I am fighting this battle for you. I have been fighting this battle all my life, and I will continue to do so,” he said.
”If something happens to me and I am sent to jail or if I am killed, you have to prove that you will struggle without Imran Khan and not accept the slavery of these thieves and of the one person who has been making decisions for the country,” he said.
Soon after his speech, protests broke out in Islamabad, Peshawar, Karachi, Faisalabad, Sargodha, Vehari, Peshawar, Quetta, and Mianwali.
Protesters blocked several roads in different cities of Punjab. In Lahore, PTI workers blocked several roads to protest the police action.