ISLAMABAD/LAHORE/KARACHI - Violent clashes were witnessed on Wednesday in big cities of the country including Lahore, Islamabad, and Karachi as Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) supporters confronted with riot police in an attempt to clear the blocked roads leading to the federal capital. Reportedly, several people including policemen and protesters were injured during the day-long clashes.

Police fired tear gas in several districts of Punjab, the country’s largest province, as supporters of former PM Imran Khan Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party tried to remove roadblocks on highways leading to Islamabad.

Lahore witnessed violent clashes between the PTI workers and the riot police as the district administration blocked all exit points leading towards Islamabad. The police fired tear-gas shells to disperse the PTI workers near Bhatti Chowk, Shahdara, Aiwan-e-Adl, Ravi Bridge, and other areas.

At some places, the PTI workers attempted to proceed towards Islamabad by pushing aside containers amid tear-gas shelling. The vehicle of PTI leader Dr Yasmin Rashid was also damaged. Dr Yasmin, in a statement, alleged that the windshield of her vehicle was broken by the police.

To police also tried to arrest senior PTI leaders Shafqat Mahmood and Hammad Azhar, who were leading rallies. The PTI lawyers and workers also scuffled with police outside Aiwan-e-Adl and Post Master General office. The police, however, arrested dozens of PTI leaders and workers including Andleeb Abbas, Mian Mehmood-ur-Rasheed, Jamshed Iqbal and Ijaz Chaudhry, and some of them  were later released.

Army troops called in for Red Zone security

| Hundreds of PTI leaders, workers arrested as clashes erupt in Lahore, Islamabad, Karachi

Earlier, Deputy Inspector General (Operations) Lahore Sohail Chaudhry told a press conference in Lahore that in the last few days the police had received information that weapons were being brought to the provincial capital to disturb its peace. Meanwhile, the cellular services reportedly remained suspended in few parts of the provincial metropolis.

 

Reports of violence, chaos and disorder, being carried out by the violent PTI protestors were received from different parts of the country on Wednesday. The PTI activists carrying batons have resorted to subjecting police officials to violence in different areas. They also pelted stones at the security forces deputed to ensure law and order.

Some of them even carried guns and ammunition and are attacking police. PTI leader Ali Amin Gandapur distributed batons among the activists to make “Danda Bardar” force, and tweeted that this force will attack the police.

PTI leader Zubair Niazi was freed from the police by protestors. Dozens of PTI workers were seen being arrested in Islamabad as well.

Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz said that police have recovered weapons from the house of a local PTI leader in Lahore.

 

Scores of PTI activists got injured after police fired tear gas and bullets at the party activists who gathered at the Numaish Chowrangi in Karachi to stage a sit-in parallel to a sit-in led by Imran Khan in Islamabad.

The hide and seek between police and PTI activists continued during the entire day however, the situation got tense after evening prayers when PTI activists comprising men and women and in some cases children marched from Shahra-e-Quaideen towards Numaish Chowrangi.

The police fired tear gas towards the marchers and as soon as they reached near Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s mausoleum, the police commandos opened aerial fire on the marchers.

However, a PTI march led by the party’s Sindh chapter President Ali Zaidi was able to reach Numaish and set up a protest camp. The protesters also allegedly set a prison van of police on fire as PTI leaders later claimed that it was police that set the vehicle on fire.

Speaking to protesters, Ali Zaidi claimed that two of their party activists were killed after police opened fire on the peaceful protesters. “I want my workers to go with me and register a case of activists killing against Asif Zardari and Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah.

“We will register FIR of the two under 7ATA against PPP leadership,” he said.

He lamented that the PTI never stopped the PPP from holding a long march but these so-called democratic forces are now bent upon resorting to violence against peaceful protesters.

“The entire opposition marched towards Islamabad five times in our three and a half year tenure but we neither arrested them nor stopped them from coming to Islamabad,” he said.

Meanwhile, the police have also arrested over 200 PTI activists during late-night raids against party activists and arrests made during protest at Numaish Chowrangi and shifted them to multiple police stations in the city.