Friday December 09, 2022

Law-enforcers mass around Banigala

Negotiations with Imran Khan are under way, as the PTI leader wants to avoid arrest or house arrest, says sources

By News Desk & Shakeel Anjum
August 22, 2022
Security personnel deployed near Banigala can be seen this file photo.
Security personnel deployed near Banigala can be seen this file photo.

ISLAMABAD: Large contingents of law-enforcement agencies, police commandos, Rangers and constabulary were deployed around the Banigala Sunday night, and all roads and pathways leading to the residence of former premier Imran Khan were sealed to avoid any untoward incident.

However, it was not yet decided whether Imran Khan would be arrested or put under house arrest, sources engaged in sketching the strategy of the operation told The News.

“Negotiations with Imran Khan are under way, as the PTI leader wants to avoid arrest or house arrest,” added the sources, saying that the authorities have multiple plans to handle the situation with the help of law-enforcement agencies, but were waiting for a green signal from the quarters concerned.

“Imran Khan is seeking the facility to approach the higher judiciary for obtaining relief, but he will have to surrender before the police as the first step,” the sources added.

The former premier is in contact with the party leadership on mobile phone and giving instructions in case of his arrest, sources added. PTI activists are gathering around Banigala, but no untoward incident was reported till the filing of the report.

According to sources, the interior ministry had sought written permission from the Prime Minister’s Office for the arrest of PTI chief. Sources said the arrest would be made with the consensus of all the parties in the ruling alliance.

Meanwhile, PPP leader and former president Asif Ali Zardari has opposed the arrest of Imran Khan. He believes that the arrest would cause political damage to the ruling alliance.

On the other hand, Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) President Maulana Fazlur Rehman did not give a clear viewpoint on Imran Khan’s arrest as PTI leader Murad Saeed claimed on Sunday night that the arrest warrants for Imran Khan had been issued.

Earlier, the federal government Sunday mulled over legal options for action against Imran Khan in the sedition case already filed against the party leader Shahbaz Gill.

According to official sources, at least two meetings were held at the interior ministry where legal options were mulled over for action against Imran Khan. “The interior ministry sought advice from attorney general for Pakistan (AGP) and the law ministry over two options: whether [Imran] Khan’s name could be added to the FIR registered against Shahbaz Gill or a new case should be registered against him,” added the sources.

The sources said the rally taken out in support of Shahbaz Gill in Islamabad also violated Section 144 and an FIR could also be registered over it. Separately, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah Sunday said Khan had threatened the institutions in his speech on Saturday, regretting that the former prime minister threatened a female judge by her name.

Addressing a press conference here, he said the statements by Khan, a public office-holder, were “impeachable” and were being investigated for whether they constituted filing of a new case or that a reference could be added to the existing [Shahbaz Gill] case.

He said if Imran Khan was not arrested, he could bring a disaster on the nation. He said not only him but Prime Minister [Shahbaz Sharif] also wanted Imran Khan arrested over his tirade against the national institutions.

Sanaullah said the recent drama staged by the PTI, wherein it repeatedly alleged that party chairman Imran Khan’s chief of staff Shahbaz Gill was tortured, was nothing but a lie with the aim of diverting attention from the party’s anti-state narrative. “I can confirm as the interior minister that no torture was inflicted on Gill,” said Sanaullah.

The interior minister denounced Imran Khan’s remarks against the police and judiciary, saying “Imran Niazi’s narrative is an anti-state agenda”. Speaking of the divisive social media trends that were launched in the wake of the Lasbela helicopter tragedy in which six army personnel were martyred, Sanaullah alleged that it was an “organised campaign” that had the “support of Imran Khan”.

The minister said that many politicians had “spoken in the past about the interference of the establishment, but no one ever provoked anyone to stop obeying the orders of the command. Such a heinous conspiracy will neither be tolerated by the state, nor forgiven,” he warned.

On Sunday, the government also constituted a joint investigation team (JIT) to probe the first information report (FIR), registered against PTI Chairman Imran Khan under 7 ATA (Anti-Terrorism Act) on Saturday, for threatening an additional sessions judge and two top cops of the federal capital police, sources in the interior ministry said. Members of the team could be announced on Monday, he added.

The News and Daily Jang published the story in their Sunday editions regarding lodging of the FIR under terrorism act. The FIR (No. 407/22) said, “The protest rally against the arrest of Shahbaz Gill and demanding his release was led by Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan, who addressed the rally at F/9 Park.

“Imran Khan, during his speech, threatened the top cops of the Islamabad Police and judiciary, saying, ‘Shame on IG and DIG. I will not spare you, I will take action against you and lodge cases against you.”

“Imran Khan, naming the judicial magistrate, said ‘Magistrate Sahiba Zeba! Get ready, I will take action against you; you all should be ashamed.’ “The purpose of Imran Khan’s speech in this style was to terrorise the police authorities and the judiciary so that the police and judiciary could not initiate legal proceedings, and could not take any legal action against the PTI or any of its workers due to the fear of Imran Khan.

“With the threatening speech of Khan, fear and panic spread among the police and the judiciary and people. Anxiety, insecurity and insecurity spread among the people. People have become terrorised. It is requested to take action against the accused and he should be punished according to the law for spreading chaos and creating unrest in the people by causing fear among them,” said the FIR.

Separately, responding to PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s speech at F/9 Park Saturday night, the capital police Sunday said they would continue to perform their duties diligently, adding that anyone hurling threats or allegations would be dealt with according to the law.

In a statement, the police said they took their work seriously, as their prime responsibility was protection of people and maintenance of law and order. “We have taken an oath to serve the nation in all circumstances,” said the statement. All the officers and jawans are rendering their services with full responsibility and they would continue doing so. “The police are an organised institution; we are bound to perform our duties in all circumstances,” the statement said.

“The Islamabad Capital Police, as an institution, will take legal action against all those involved in levelling false allegations,” the press statement concluded. Meanwhile, the Islamabad Police spokesperson said in a statement that security had not been withdrawn from Imran Khan. He rejected the propaganda of withdrawing of security from the Banigala residence of the former premier.

Earlier, PTI central leader Shireen Mazari said that the ‘imported’ government had withdrawn security of former premier Imran Khan, which was against the law. In a tweet on Sunday, she said the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) police had withdrawn all security from the former PM’s house. She said that was against the law, adding that “but who cares about the law in this imported government?”

She said that the rulers were busy ensuring full security for convict Maryam, who was continuously telling lies. The nation should know how conspirators were creating a life threat for Imran Khan, she added. 


    khangul commented 4 months ago

    IK got out of favour of the power that be and now facing wrath of establishment. The incumbent government has also joined the chorus for being the beneficiary in case IK is disqualified or eliminated in any other way.

    0 0