Over 70 activists of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) were arrested as they tried to march to party chief Imran Khan’s residence here before a planned November 2 Islamabad lockdown protest against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Imran Khan had urged party workers to reach his residence in the upscale Bani Gala neighbourhood of Islamabad even if they had to “climb mountains” to do so in the wake of the government’s crackdown. Protesters then plan to hold a protest rally in central Islamabad on Wednesday.
The police prevented protesters from reaching Bani Gala via lesser-known unpaved routes running through the wilderness by surrounding them on all sides. Protesters threw stones at security forces and set off fires in the wilderness, after which the police resorted to tear-gas shelling, Dawn reported.
The police have erected check posts from Link Road to Bani Gala in Islamabad to prevent the march.
Meanwhile, the police also claimed to have recovered six Kalashnikov rifles, some magazines, a bulletproof vest, some bottles of alcohol and tear-gas shells from PTI leader Amin Gandapur’s car outside Bani Gala. Gandapur, however, said only two licensed Kalashnikovs were found in his car and that he carried the licence when he was travelling in the vehicle.
He said the police let him go after they saw the licence.
On October 27, the police stormed a PTI youth convention and arrested over 200 party workers for protesting against the government following which, Imran Khan gave a call for countrywide protests against the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Sharif government.
The PTI is protesting and demanding the Prime Minister’s resignation over alleged money laundering by Sharif and his family, allegedly exposed by the ‘Panama Papers’ leak. The government remains adamant that it will not allow the PTI to shut down Islamabad on November 2 and has vowed to take action against the party if it challenged the writ of the state.
The Pakistan government has banned political rallies in the capital city for two months. The administration in the capital have banned people’s gathering of five or more at any location.