Imran Khan, PTI leaders booked for 'violent' Zaman Park clashes

Ahmed Faraz
A supporter of PTI chief Imran Khan throws stones towards police during clashes in Lahore, Pakistan, March 15, 2023. — Reuters
A supporter of PTI chief Imran Khan throws stones towards police during clashes in Lahore, Pakistan, March 15, 2023. — Reuters

  • FIR against Khan includes more than a dozen PPC sections.
  • He has also been booked under Anti-Terrorism Act 1997.
  • FIR states PTI workers attacked police at PTI chief's behest.

LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, his party's leaders, and workers have been booked for damaging government property in the wake of destruction amid riots which erupted as law enforcers tried to enter his residence in Lahore's Zaman Park for his arrest.

The PTI chief had been booked Tuesday — the day when the standoff between the police and party workers began — in one of the total four cases.

The cases have been registered under the provisions of burning and damaging government property, terrorism, attempts to murder, and other provisions.

According to the first information report (FIR) filed against Khan at Lahore's Race Course police station, a criminal conspiracy of the violent riots was carried out at the behest of the PTI chief’s incitement.

The FIR stated that PTI workers, at the behest of Khan and party leaders, attacked the police with batons, bricks, stones, and petrol bombs, which left Shehzad Bukhari, the deputy inspector-general of operations of the Islamabad police team injured.

It further added that additional Lahore police personnel were called in to control the disorder upon which the PTI workers turned more violent and chanted slogans against the expected arrest of their leader.

They began throwing stones and bottles filled with petrol leaving public and private property including police vans, water cannons and bowser vehicles being destroyed and burnt, as well as the staff being injured as a result, the FIR stated.

Khan has been booked under Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) Section 109 (punishment of abetment if the Act abetted committed n consequence and where no express provision is made for its punishment); 120B (punishment of criminal conspiracy); 147 (punishment of rioting); 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon); 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object); 172 (absconding to avoid service of summons or other proceeding); and 173 (preventing service of summons or other proceeding, or preventing publication thereof) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

The former premier has also been booked under Section 174 (non-attendance in obedience to an order from public servant); 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions); 212 (harbouring offender); 290 (punishment for public nuisance in cases not otherwise provided for); 291 (continuance of nuisance after injunction to discontinue); and 324 (attempt to commit qatl-i-amd).

Provisions for the case against the PTI chairman also include Section 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty); 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees); 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house, etc); 440 (mischief committed after preparation made for causing death or hurt); 506 (ii) (punishment for criminal intimidation or grievous hurt, etc); and the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997.

A day earlier, an intense stand-off between PTI supporters and law enforcers entered its second day near Khan's Zaman Park residence as the authorities resumed their operation for his arrest in the Toshakhana case.

This was the second time in recent weeks that the police were sent from Islamabad to the ouster premier's home in Punjab's provincial capital to serve an arrest warrant after he skipped several court dates citing security concerns.

However, the police officials — following a Pakistan Super League (PSL) playoff match between Lahore Qalandars and Multan Sultans at Gaddafi Stadium — announced a temporary halt of their operation, after which its personnel and other security officials were seen leaving Zaman Park.

"Police will not advance on Khan's residence until the ongoing Pakistan Super League (PSL) 8 cricket match is over," sources quoted police officials as saying.

After the withdrawal of the police, the PTI chief, too, came out of his residence in a mask and met the party's workers to encourage them.