Tuesday, November 01, 2016
By
GEO NEWS

Police push Khattak-led PTI caravan back to Swabi Interchange

Police used tear gas on PTI workers after they tried to remove barricades placed to prevent them from entering Punjab

By
GEO NEWS

ISLAMABAD: Police sprang into action early on Tuesday pushing the caravan of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) workers, led by CM Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pervaiz Khattak for the party’s planned ‘lockdown’ of the capital on November 2, back to Swabi Interchange through heavy shelling of tear-gas.

CM Pervaiz Khattak led the caravan to Burhan Interchange late Monday night and directed workers to stay there until morning. PTI workers clashed with law enforcers upon reaching the interchange, however, law enforcers effectively barred their movement further.

At that point, the KP CM also came out of his vehicle and met with party activists at the interchange and directed them to rest at the same spot.

Yet, the PTI workers and supporters woke up to heavy shelling of tear-gas by the police in the wee hours of Tuesday. The intense tear-gas shelling prompted CM Pervaiz Khattak to direct the caravan to retreat from Burhan Interchange and move to Peshawar.

The PTI workers completely vacated the Burhan Interchange, following which it has also been opened for routine traffic.

Meanwhile, the law enforcers sealed another passage leading to Bani Gala from Park Road to prevent the protesters from reaching the residence of PTI chairman Imran Khan.

All the ways leading to Bani Gala lie completely sealed, with additional contingents of police and Frontier Constabulary (FC) deployed there to keep the protesters from reaching Bani Gala in large numbers.

Earlier, PTI workers removed containers near Hazro and cleared the way forward to continue their journey towards the capital.

Clashes between security personnel and PTI workers started right when the convoy was close to entering Punjab near the Swabi Interchange. 

In Hazro, police started shelling the party’s workers, who retaliated by hurling stones at the policemen. Enraged protesters also set multiple vehicles and bushes in the area on fire in Hazro, Motorway. 

Meanwhile, the government has also enforced measures to deal with PTI workers reaching Islamabad. Containers have been brought to Islamabad to seal the Red Zone.

Imran asks Khattak to retreat

PTI chairman Imran Khan has asked Pervaiz Khattak to retreat to Swabi given the brutal use of force by Punjab police to regroup, rest and get reinforcements.

In a series of tweets, Khan said the Khattak led caravan confronted the brutality of the Punjab police and use of ‘lethal expired tear gas.’

The PTI chairman asked where were the so-called armed groups with the KP chief minister which PML-N used as pretext to illegally stop and use excessive tear gas.

PTI supporters dump tear gas shell during clashes with police as they matched towards the capital- Photo AFP
PTI supporters dump tear gas shell during clashes with police as they matched towards the capital- Photo AFP

CM KP tells workers he will lead from front

Earlier on Monday CM KP told workers not to worry as he will be at the front, adding that the convoy would move forward removing all hurdles. Pervaiz Khattak said that workers would be at the back, following him. 

Speaking to Geo News, Khattak had said it was their democratic right to go to Islamabad and going back was not an option. "I will not move until the way is cleared," Khattak had added. 

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Earlier, while addressing workers in Swabi, Khattak had said oppressors had blocked roads. "I will lodge an FIR against Chaudhry Nisar, Shehbaz Sharif and Nawaz Sharif if my workers are harmed," the chief minister had said. 

"Show me the law which makes it legal to block roads," Khattak had said. 

The make-shift stage which KP CM Pervaiz Khattak was using to address a gathering of workers had collapsed on Monday. The chief minister was not hurt during the incident. Video showed several party workers on stage with Khattak whose weight could not be supported.

Video: Stage collapses during Khattak’s address 

The make-shift stage was built on top of a vehicle which was part of the chief minister’s convoy as he headed to Islamabad.

'Government is playing a dangerous game'

Opposition leader in the National Assembly, Khursheed Shah on Monday said the government was playing a dangerous game by blocking the way from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Shah said this step by the government could cause great damage to the federation.  The PPP leader also termed the arrest of parliamentarians as unlawful and demanded their immediate release.

Crane machine being used to place containers to block link road along Motorway-1 to stop PTI activists from entering Islamabad ahead of the party’s Nov 2 protest in the federal capital city- Photo Online
Crane machine being used to place containers to block link road along Motorway-1 to stop PTI activists from entering Islamabad ahead of the party’s Nov 2 protest in the federal capital city- Photo Online

'PTI workers will wreak havoc if allowed forward'

Federal Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique said on Monday that if the PTI workers were allowed to proceed from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to Islamabad, they would wreak havoc.

"These are neither convoys nor public for whom the routes have been obstructed," he said while speaking to Geo News. Rafique added that since two days Chief Minister KP Pervaiz Khattak had been delivering provocative speeches. 

He said that CM KP talked about locking down Islamabad, adding that PTI was giving the message of violence and unrest.

Shameful how CM under attack: Imran

PTI chairman Imran Khan tweeted that it was shameful how the chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was under attack by the Punjab government. “Constitution is being violated shamelessly by Federal and Punjab governments,” he tweeted. 

Imran added that despite the shelling by Punjab police, PTI workers and the chief minister were not using violence or the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police to show their commitment to peaceful protest. Khan further tweeted that Khattak and the convoy were being prevented violently from exercising their democratic right to travel to Bani Gala.

Police crackdown against PTI 

Police have been rounding up PTI activists ahead of the Nov 2 Islamabad 'lockdown'. Women activists of the party were also detained as they tried to reach Imran Khan's residence in Bani Gala. 

Earlier on Monday, Imran Khan alleged that his party workers were being kidnapped and not arrested. “I demand that the Supreme Court take suo moto notice. These are abductions and not arrests. They are robbing people of their democratic rights,” Khan said at Bani Gala.

As of Sunday, Punjab police had arrested workers across Punjab under 16 MPO (Punjab Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance, 1960). The decision of arrests came after a meeting chaired by Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Amin Wains, sources had informed.

The Punjab government on Saturday imposed section 144 banning rallies and demonstrations across the province, which will be in force till November 8. Section 144 has also been imposed in Islamabad.

Policewomen arrest an activist of PTI near the house of PTI chief Imran Khan in Islamabad-Photo AFP
Policewomen arrest an activist of PTI near the house of PTI chief Imran Khan in Islamabad-Photo AFP

People reject Imran’s politics of protest: Amir Muqam

Prime Minister’s Adviser Amir Muqam addressed a gathering in Swabi where he said that people have come to know about Imran Khan’s ulterior motives.

He said that people have rejected Imran’s politics of protest, adding that people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa want politics of development and progress.