Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Saturday drew comparison between Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan to the extremist Indian organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as clashes erupted at the Islamabad Judicial Complex due to the former prime minister's appearance before a trial court.
Some 4,000 security officials including elite police commandos, anti-terrorism squads and paramilitary rangers were deployed around Islamabad with hospitals put on high alert.
Police fired tear gas at supporters who had gathered at the court in anticipation of Khan’s arrival, chanting and pelting stones and bricks at officers.
"If anyone had any doubt, Imran Niazi's antics of the last few days have laid bare his fascist [and] militant tendencies," the prime minister wrote on Twitter.
"From using people as human shields to throwing petrol bombs at police to leading 'jathas' to intimidate judiciary, he has taken a leaf out of the RSS book," he added.
Earlier this week Khan’s supporters fought pitched battles with police sent to arrest him in the eastern city of Lahore after he failed to appear in court, citing security concerns.
Authorities were later stood down after a flurry of court hearings and Khan's promise to appear in the capital on Saturday.
Police meanwhile raided his house in a plush Lahore neighbourhood after blocking nearby roads and suspending mobile services in the area.
Khan remained holed up at his Lahore residence for several days till the police operation was underway as he resisted arrest in the Toshakhana case — after an Islamabad court issued non-bailable arrest warrants for him due to his repeated non-appearances.
To ensure that they stop police from arresting Khan, the PTI workers had also thrown Molotov cocktails at police and Rangers personnel, while they also burnt police vehicles.
The prime minister's statement came a day after Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senior Vice President Maryam Nawaz said that the government should deal with the Imran Khan-led PTI as a terrorist organisation — and the time had passed to sit and negotiate with the deposed prime minister.
In a hard-hitting press conference in Lahore, the PML-N leader lashed out at the former premier for creating a “scene” at his Zaman Park residence, saying Khan announced a "revolt against the state institutions".
Referring to the clashes outside Khan’s residence, the PML-N's chief organiser said that scenes at Zaman Park and the Kacha area are similar — the Kacha area is infamous for being a haven for notorious criminals, including high-profile kidnappers.
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