Islamabad ,October 31 (Dawn): Police and Frontier Constabulary personnel used tear gas shells to disperse thousands of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) protesters in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Swabi en route to Islamabad on Monday to join the party’s planned Nov 2 ‘lockdown’ of the capital.
Around 5,000 stick-wielding party workers are trying to remove barricades put in place by police using cranes near the Swabi Interchange, while law enforcement personnel are using tear gas shelling and rubber bullets to stop the protesters.
The PTI protesters have vowed to move on undeterred towards the federal capital, they are trying to remove containers using cranes as the night falls.
Some protesters also fainted due to the shelling, while others were injured by rubber bullets. Those affected were taken to hospitals, DawnNews reported.
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday reiterated its earlier order that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) should hold its planned sit in at ‘Democracy Park and Speech Corner’, located near Islamabad’s Parade Ground in Shakarparian and ordered the PTI chief to appear in court.
The PTI said it would challenge the court’s order in the apex court.
PTI’s Shah Mahmood Qureshi claimed, “As Justice Siddiqui is related to Irfan Siddiqui, the prime minister’s adviser, it would be better if he did not hear the case.”
“We have already asked our lawyers to prepare the petition saying we don’t think the judge should hear this case… And we will present it in the Supreme Court tomorrow,” he said, speaking to the press outside Imran Khan’s Bani Gala residence in Islamabad.
The IHC order came after Imran Khan asked the Supreme Court to take suo motu notice of arrests of his party’s workers while speaking to the media outside Bani Gala.
During an earlier press conference, Imran Khan told the media that he had already spoken to the judge and would not go to court.
Taking issue with this statement, Justice Siddiqui asked “Why did Imran say that he would not appear before the court and that he had talked to the judge?”.
The IHC asked that the PTI chief present himself within 10 minutes.
Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, while hearing a case regarding the PTI sit in, remarked “Is only Imran Khan respectable in this country?”
The judge ordered the Inspector General Islamabad to make arrangements for Imran Khan to be presented in court.
“I want to ask Justice Siddiqui, that when you made a decision and passed an order permitting us to hold a peaceful protest, and said that containers will not be placed, then why are our activists in jail?” the chief had said on Saturday during a press conference.
Justice Siddiqui, responding to the Imran’s comment, asked today, “Is this a way to talk, saying ‘Justice Siddiqui see how your order is being treated’?”