3,000 people apprehended during clashes in Punjab province

Lahore: Police in Pakistan’s Punjab province on Friday claimed to have arrested 3,000 people, including women, during the violent clashes between the supporters of Imran Khan and security agencies after the former prime minister’s arrest earlier this week.

The law and order situation in Punjab province was under control on Friday after Khan, the chief of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, was granted protective bail in a corruption case.

The PTI chief was arrested from the premises of the Islamabad High Court on Tuesday in the Al-Qadir Trust case after the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) issued an arrest warrant against him.

Inspector General Police, Punjab, Dr Usman Anwar, told reporters that 3,000 people were arrested across Punjab, majorly from the provincial capital Lahore, during the violent clashes since Tuesday.

He said the miscreants torched and damaged over 80 vehicles of the law enforcement agencies besides damaging 14 state buildings/installations in the province.

Over 150 police personnel were also injured, Anwar said, adding those arrested would be tried under terrorism charges.

As the law enforcement agencies put the death toll at 10, the opposition PTI party claimed that 40 of its workers were killed in the clashes.

“At least 40 workers of the PTI have been killed and over 100 injured during the clashes across Pakistan,” PTI leader and former federal minister Murad Saaed said in a video message.

Police on Friday also arrested several PTI leaders, including former ministers Dr Shireen Mazari, Dr Yasmin Rashid, Khusro Bakhtiar and Ijaz Chaudhry.

Law enforcement agencies had already arrested Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Fawad Chaudhry, Asad Umar, Qasim Suri, Ali Muhammad Khan and Maleeka Bokhari, the party’s main leadership.

Army was deployed in the country’s capital as well as in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces to maintain law and order after Khan’s supporters stormed the General Headquarters of the Army in Rawalpindi.

Following the torching of his residence, Lahore Corps Commander, Salman Fayyaz Ghani, had to be shifted from his office.

The PTI protesters also set on fire the Corps Commander House known as Jinnah House in Lahore to vent their anger over the arrest of Khan.

Police have booked Khan and 1,500 of his party leaders and workers for torching the army commander’s house, in which two protesters were killed.

Pakistan Army troops on Thursday also held a flag march on the major arteries of Lahore to make their presence felt.

Khan was ousted from power in April after losing a no-confidence vote in his leadership, which he alleged was part of a US-led conspiracy targeting him because of his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia, China and Afghanistan.

He is the only Pakistani prime minister to be ousted in a no-confidence vote in Parliament.