Islamabad/Rawalpindi - Dozens of leaders and workers of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) suffered injuries in twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad on Wednesday after police and other law enforcement agencies fired tear gas shells and resorted to baton charge on PTI activists protesting against incumbent government and demanding announcement of schedule for fresh elections in the country.

Police fired tear gas shells when the charged protestors and leaders of PTI attempted to remove the containers and other barricades to reach D-Chowk where ousted premier and PTI chief Imran Khan was likely to address a public gathering. The irate mobs of PTI also pelted police and other LEAs with stones.

The mobs of PTI allegedly set a tree and other public property in Blue Area, Jinnah Avenue and D-Chowk ablaze. Thick clouds of smoke could be seen even from miles away. Police called firefighters to overwhelm the fire but the irate protestors damaged a fire brigade vehicle.

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Islamabad Dr Nasir Akbar stated that the security of Red Zone and other areas has been beefed up and nobody would be allowed to enter the no-go zone. “We are trying to control the situation by deputing more police force in the capital,” said IG.

Many journalists became unconscious due to the smoke of tear gas shells.

In Rawalpindi, Murree Road also turned into a battle zone when police tried to stop rallies of PTI moving towards Islamabad. Scuffles occurred between riot gear. Police also fired gas shells at protestors to disperse them. Reportedly, Jhelum police also fired tear gas shells over a rally being led by former federal minister for information and broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry.

City Police Officer (CPO) Syed Nadim Shehzad along with SSP Operations Wasim Riaz, SSP Investigation Syed Ghazanfar Ali Shah and other divisional SPs also kept patrolling in the city to review law and order situation.

As many as 69 workers of PTI have been detained by the cops of Rawalpindi police in a massive crackdown, according to officials of intelligence agencies.

According to details, the district administration of twin cities have sealed all roads leading to Red Zone and Parliament House by placing containers to stop the rallies of PTI from entering capital.

Police and LEAs placed containers at G-14 Bridge, Faizabad Bridge, Bhara Kahu, Sarena Hotel, Nadra Chowk, Margalla Road, Jhelum Bridge, Sohawa and Kallar Syedan Road. PTI leaders including Fawad Chaudhry, Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Raja Khurram Nawaz, Ali Nawaz Awan, Raja Imran Javed and others brought rallies to enter Islamabad. The protestors showed resistance and tried to remove the containers.

Police fired tear-gas shells at the protestors during their protest demonstration at D-Chowk Islamabad, Blue Area, Jinnah Avenue, Faizabad Interchange, Murree Road and Golra Morr. Resultantly, dozens of workers and leaders of PTI got injured. Reportedly, police made several arrests on the occasion.

A mob also gathered at Murree Road and planned to march towards Red Zone. Police, however, tried to stop them from marching and fired tear-gas shells. This led to chaos and many protesters took shelter inside the office buildings situated in the area.

In a statement, IG Islamabad Dr Nasir Akbar said strict action would be taken against those who tried to breach the security layer to reach the Red Zone. “I have advised police not to use force against protestors anywhere,” he said.

“The PTI protestors torched a tree and a vehicle in Blue Area while fire brigade was called to extinguish fire. The protestors also set trees ablaze at Express Chowk,” said a police spokesman.

Meanwhile, Awami Muslim League (AML) President and former federal minister on interior Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Wednesday arrived at Lal Haveli on a motorcycle and addressed his supporters outside his residence. He said that Rana Sana Ullah is involved in a case of drug smuggling adding that the majority of ministers of Shehbaz Sharif cabinet are facing different criminal cases. “It is shocking that robbers have become prime minister and chief minister of a province,” said Sheikh Rashid.

He alleged that America hatched a conspiracy to remove Imran Khan from office of prime minister of Pakistan. He said Imran Khan is the only leader who managed to gather the whole nation under one flag adding that police had broken all records of brutality but he would pardon the officers involved in torturing and firing tear gas shells on the workers of PTI.

Former interior minister vowed to continue the movement till the announcement of the schedule for the fresh general elections in the country. Former Governor Sindh Imran Ismail, Markazi General Secretary PTI Amir Kiani and MNA Sadaqat Abbasi reached Lal Haveli and joined the rally of Sheikh Rashid Ahmed. Later, a rally was taken to Islamabad by Sheikh Rashid Ahmed.

Till the filing of this report, violent protestors of PTI were creating a law and order situation in the capital with police making efforts to control the situation. Reportedly, Islamabad police have decided to conduct an operation to clear the Red Zone.