GHQ attacked, Lahore corps commander house set on fire by PTI protesters

LAHORE/RAWALPINDI    -    In an appalling incident of vandalism nev­er witnessed before in country’s political history, the historic corps commander’s house in Lahore which also served as res­idence of the founding father of the nation Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, was attacked by PTI supporters on Tuesday hours after Imran Khan’s arrest by the Rangers personnel in Islamabad.

The violent protesters en­tered the corps commander’s residence, also known as Jinnah House, ransacked the building, destroyed the furniture, dam­aged other fixtures and later set it on fire. Columns of smoke rising from the building could be seen from a distance. Lucki­ly, neither the corps command­er nor any member of his family were present when the incident took place.

The protesters faced no resis­tance either from the security forces or the provincial police which could not be seen any­where during the attack, there­by raising questions about the security of such an important building. Before making en­try into the army officer’s resi­dence, the protesters crossed all security checkposts manned by the army and located in the La­hore Cantonment. The PTI ac­tivists also broke the security cameras installed at the check­posts while setting several vehi­cles on fire at Cantt Chowk.

The protesters played the songs of 1965 war, and later took over the corps command­er’s house, breaking doors, smashing windowpanes and burning the furniture. One of the protesters was heard saying while vandalizing the interior of the residence, “look taxpayers money was used here”.

The Pakistan Army personnel were seen encircling the PTI protesters who were ransack­ing the premises of the house but they offered no resistance. In videos made viral on the so­cial media, the protesters could be seen hitting the army vehi­cles with batons in anger and raising slogans against the in­stitution. 

The police, which arrived quite late at the scene, fired tear gas shells in effort to disperse pro­testers gathered outside corps commander house. However, de­spite the shelling a great num­ber of PTI supporters managed to enter the premises and van­dalised the interior of the house. Also, following the arrest of for­mer prime minister Imran Khan, massive protests erupted in sev­eral cities across Pakistan includ­ing Lahore, Peshawar, Karachi, Quetta, Faisalabad, Gilgit, Rawal­pindi, Gujranwala and others. 

As the news about Imran’s ar­rest broke out, the PTI through its social media accounts start­ed urging the people to take to the streets against the arrest.

In Lahore, Senator Ejaz Ah­mad Chaudhry along with the workers blocked Akbar Chowk, Main Pico Road, Jail Road, Township, Main Canal Road and Faisal Town. PTI workers burnt tires and shouted slogans against the ‘imported govern­ment’ and Army.

Once the news of Imran’s ar­rest surfaced in the media, PTI workers equipped with ba­tons marched towards the PTI chief’s residence in Zaman Park and surrounded it from all sides and blocked Canal Road.

Akbar Chowk was blocked from all sides. A large num­ber of baton-carrying workers were seen on Mall Road. Shang­hai Bridge Ferozepur Road was closed while a large number of lawyers protested by blocking the road at GPO Chowk.

Protesters on Mall Road start­ed pelting stones at the police, after which the police also start­ed baton charging the workers, while water cannons were used to disperse the workers.

Following the urest the pro­vincial government called Rang­ers in city to control the deteri­orating law and order situation in Lahore. The Home Depart­ment was contacted for sus­pension of mobile service in the city, while the district adminis­tration wrote a letter to the Ad­ditional Chief Secretary Home.

Additional Chief Secretary Home Shakeel Ahmed also is­sued a notification to imple­ment Section 144, according to which any kind of protest and rally had been banned across the province.

According to the police, the vi­olators of Section 144 and three MPOs will be arrested. With the help of the footage, strict action will be taken against the riot­ers and those who pelted stones on the police. Meanwhile, The police arrested more than 550 workers and supporters of Paki­stan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) from various areas of Rawalpindi and Islamabad for their involvement in arson, rioting, pelting law en­forcement agencies with stones, attacking government installa­tions including GHQ during pro­test demonstrations against ar­rest of former prime minister Imran Khan here on Tuesday.

As many as 11 cops of Rawal­pindi and Islamabad police in­cluding a deputy superinten­dent of police suffered injuries when the violent protestors of PTI pelted them with stones and bricks, according to police spokesmen. All the victims were moved to hospitals for medical treatment, they said.

“A driver and cop of Rawal­pindi police came back on duty soon after receiving medical treatment in hospital,” said In­spector Sajjad Ul Hassan, the spokesman to City Police Of­ficer Rawalpindi Syed Khalid Mehmood Hamdani.

Reportedly, scores of protes­tors of PTI also got injured when the police fired tear gas shells and resorted baton charge to disperse the protestors. The traders and shopkeepers in Rawalpindi and Islamabad shut down their businesses follow­ing the protests that broke out after the arrest of Imran Khan. 

Also, the PTI protestors blocked all the major roads in­cluding Islamabad Express­way, Srinagar Highway, GT Road from Gujar Khan, Tarnol, Mall Road Saddar and other areas; pelting the vehicles with stones and sticks and harassing the passengers and other citizens.

The traffic police of twin cities diverted traffic rush on alterna­tive routes,

Earlier, the district govern­ments of Rawalpindi and Is­lamabad had imposed section 144 in the twin cities in order to maintain law and order.

All Pakistan Private Schools Association have announced closure of all the private educa­tional institutions in Rawalpin­di today (Wednesday) follow­ing the unrest in the city that emerged after the arrest of Im­ran Khan.

Dozens of supporters of PTI equipped with batons, rods and bricks attacked GHQ and broke out the main gate from Saddar side. A large number of enraged workers of PTI also pelted the gate of GHQ from RA Bazaar side with stones and bricks.

Heavy contingent of police and Elite Force commandos came into action and fired tear gas shells over the protestors in order to disperse them. Clashes also occurred between riot gear of police and the protestors of PTI at Liaquat Bagh, Committee Chowk on Murree Road and in Faizabad, Police fired tear shells at protestors who pelted police with stones. A deputy super­intendent of police namely Ta­hir Sikandar suffered injuries during a clash with mob and was moved to hospital for medi­cal treatment. 

“We have arrested more than 500 protestors of PTI on charges of arson, rioting, at­tacking government installa­tions and blocking roads,” said Inspector Sajjad Ul Hassan, the spokesman of Rawalpindi po­lice. In Islamabad, clashes also occurred between police and vi­olent protestors of PTI. Resul­tantly, 7 cops maimed and were moved to hospitals for cure, ac­cording to a police spokesman.

“The security of Islamabad has been beefed up ahead of protests that broke out after the arrest of PTI Chairman Imran Khan,” said IG Islamabad Dr Ak­bar Nasir Khan in a statement.

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