Party workers take to streets
Ijaz Kakakhel Islamabad
Violence erupted outside the Election of Commission of Pakistan office as heavy police contingents and workers of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf confronted each other shortly after the election commission disqualified former prime minister Imran Khan in Toshakhana reference.
According to Islamabad police, the situation became tense after KP police cop opened fire on capital police deployed outside ECP office. The police also arrested PTI MNA Saleh Muhammad and his guard from ECP office.
The Islamabad police reportedly recovered firearms from a Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa policeman who was later reported to be the guard of PTI MNA Saleh. As the weapon was being recovered a shot was fired.
The capital police claims the shot was fired by the KP policeman and has arrested him.
Following the disqualification of Imran Khan in Toshakhana reference, PTI workers and supporters hit the streets to record their protest.
While the PTI leaders burst at the Election Commission of Pakistan for disqualifying Imran Khan from political office after his lawyers failed to prove he was not guilty in the Toshakhana reference case.
The case was filed by the ruling coalition before the election commission. The gifts included expensive wristwatches given by a royal family. Reactions poured in from all sides after the ECP’s tribunal reached the conclusion that Khan had illegally sold state gifts presented to him by heads of foreign countries and important personalities.
Speaking to media, PTI leader Fawad Hussain Chaudhry said ECP’s attitude had always been the worst. “We never pinned any hopes on it.
This is a shameful decision.”
Chaudhry termed the decision as an assault on the institutions of Pakistan and called on PTI cohorts and the public at large to come out for protests against this outrage.
He went on to say that the commission had given the verdict they had hoped for. “They are only targeting Imran Khan,” he said.
The PTI leader said that the ECP and its members are not competent to make this decision. “Who are you [ECP] to take a this decision?” he questioned.
Khan, who has denied the charges, was accused of misusing his position to purchase and sell gifts received during state visits abroad that were worth over 140 million Pakistani rupees ($635,497.05).
PTI leader Asad Umar also condemned the decision as a travesty of justice. “The verdict will soon be challenged in the court and their dream of ‘minus-Imran-Khan’ will never come true,” Umar said in a message on his Twitter handle.
Shafqat Mehmood also gave his anger a vent on Twitter. “History tells us that popular leaders cannot be removed from people’s consciousness through disqualifications or any other coercive action. Imran Khan lives among the people and these ridiculous decisions cannot stop him,” Mehmood said in a Twitter post.
In August 2022, National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf sent a reference to the ECP under Articles 62A, 63A, and 223, seeking former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s disqualification in the light of the Toshakhana scam.
The disqualification reference was filed by Ali Gohar Khan, PML-N’s Mohsin Nawaz Ranjha, and five others. The 28-page reference identified 52 gift items of Toshakhana received by the former prime minister Khan, violating the law and rules, taken away at nominal prices and most of the gifts were sold in the market, including some precious watches.
The assessed value of the gifts has been put at Rs 142,042,100. The gifts were received between August 2018 and December 2021.
Agencies add: PTI workers blocked Islamabad Expressway and other avenues and roads of the Federal Capital as a protest of the disqualification of PTI Chairman Imran Khan.