PTI workers clash with police near Bani Gala, 70 detained

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State machinery being used to hide PM’s crimes: Imran

Observer Report

Islamabad—Islamabad police on Sunday barred the caravan of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf from going to Bani Gala and fired shells on them filling the atmosphere with smoke.
Police and protesters clashed on University Road. Retaliating to the police action, PTI workers set the jungle near Bani Gala on fire. Police arrested more than 70 PTI workers who were shifted to Bhara Kahu and Secretariat police station. However; PTI’s Uzma Kardar, Shireen Mazari moved forward while removing the barricades and heavy argument with police.
Political situation remains tense in Rawalpindi and Islamabad as Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Awami Muslim League have vowed to go ahead with the plan of holding political rally despite imposition of section 144.
Several clashes have been reported at various cities after Imran Khan announced countrywide protests in wake of the arrests of party workers during youth convention in Islamabad.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan speaking to reporters on Sunday claimed that state machinery was being used to hide Prime Minister’s Nawaz Sharif’s crimes.
Flanked by PTI’s Imran Ismail, Jahangir Tareen and Shah Mahmood Qureshi outside his Bani Gala residence, the party chief said, “To save one criminal, you can see how much of the country’s money is being squandered. To hide his theft and corruption, the entire state machinery being employed… there are helicopters, police, checkposts.” The PTI chief said the Islamabad High Court should take suo motu notice of the situation in the capital. “Their containers and tear gassing lead to death of an infant. The death of a colonel happened only because of the closure of roads using containers.
Two First Information Reports (FIRs) should be registered against Sha-hbaz Sharif for these crimes,” he said. Speaking about the recovery of weapons and alcohol from PTI leader Amin Gandapur’s car, Imran claimed the government are “masters of this”. “The weapons recovered from Gandapur’s car were for his personal pro-tection, as our office bearers have been targetted by the Taliban in the past,” said the PTI chief. Imran added the weapons recovered were legal and licensed. He also said Gandapur was on his way to meet his party chairman, and was not doing anything illegal. “They wrongly arrest people and then ‘find’ things in their cars,” he al-leged. “They are picking up people and locking them up. Why have we been locked in? What is my crime?” the PTI chief asked, as dozens of protest-ers trying to reach Bani Gala were arrested by police on Sunday.
The PTI chief said it was possible the date for the planned ‘lockdown’ may extend to Nov 3 or Nov 4 due to attempts made to ‘stop’ the siege of the capital. “We have given Nov 2 as the date. If they try to stop us, it may be Nov 3 or Nov 4. But we will not be stopped. I will not stop till my last breath,” Imran Khan vowed. “Nawaz Sharif, do what you want. We will not let you digest the money you have stolen. This nation will ask you for accountability.” “Once again, I will ask the judiciary of Pakistan: what kind of democracy is this? The government does not obey law or court rulings.”
PTI Chairman Imran Khan Sunday said former Information Minister Per-vaiz Rasheed, who was asked by the prime minister to step down from his post, has been made a scapegoat but the nation “demands much more”. Talking to reporters earlier outside his Bani Gala residence, the PTI leader hit out at the information minister. Invoking a metaphor, Khan said, “The nation wants the sacrifice of a horse, not a mule.” Rasheed was asked to step down as the government was forced to launch a probe into Dawn’s story “Act against militants or face international iso-lation, civilians tell military”, which reported details of a high level civil-military meeting discussing the issue of Pakistan’s banned outfits.
The military has demanded action as it views the leak from the meeting as a “break of national security”. The development has given Khan, Nawaz Sharif’s rival and most vocal critic, another opportunity to take aim at the incumbent government as his party gears up for what they have vowed is a “lockdown” of Islamabad on November 2. “Rasheed could not speak without a signal from “his masters” to do so. He could not dare to anything on his own. He just obeyed instructions,” Khan added. “People are not ready to accept the sacrifice of an associate,” he said. “We want to know who was the one from the ‘royal family’ who directed this entire drama.”
He also reiterated his ongoing criticism of the government for its actions in the days leading up to his scheduled November 2 protest, and said it has “gone out of its way” to restrain the party from exercising its constitu-tional right of protest. He urged party workers to reach Bani Gala even if they had to climb mountains to do so. Protesters will then move onto Islamabad on Nov 2 for the party’s planned ‘lockdown’ of the capital, he said.
He also said the Islamabad police did not spare female protesters of PTI but there was no Section 144, an order which bans public gatherings, for Difa-i-Pakistan Council. Khan said the credibility of judiciary was at stake as, according to him, the government was violating laws and had committed contempt of court. “I want to tell the judiciary that it is their trial, not mine.” A day earlier, Khan had said the country’s institutions for justice are con-trolled by “a corrupt leader”. “What will people think? You passed orders but everyone can see what is going on,” he said, in an apparent reference to shipping containers that have blocked routes to Islamabad despite an order by the Islamabad High Court to keep the city open.

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