Supporters of Pakistan's former PM Imran flock to Banigala, vow to block his arrest - GulfToday

Supporters of Pakistan's former PM Imran flock to Banigala, vow to block his arrest


PTI supporters shout slogans as they guard outside Imran Khan's residence in Islamabad on Monday. AFP

Supporters of former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan gathered outside his home in Banigala on Monday to stop police arresting him on anti-terrorism charges related to a threat police say he made against a police chief and a judge.

The political tension stems from comments the former cricket star is accused of making in a speech, at a rally of his supporters televised live on Saturday night, against the police chief and a judge in response to the arrest of one of Imran's aides.

"They will have to run over us before they can reach Imran," supporter Sher Jahan Khan said outside Imran's hilltop home (Banigala) overlooking the capital, Islamabad.

Imran was prime minister from 2018 until April this year when he was forced to step down after losing a confidence vote in parliament.

Since then, he has been campaigning for a new election but Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif has rejected that demand.

PTI-tiger Supporters of Imran Khan gather as they guard outside his Banigala residence in Islamabad. AFP

Dozens of supporters gathered outside his home from early on Monday shouting slogans against the government and the police. Islamabad police declined to confirm that they intended to arrest Imran but Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah has said he could be arrested.

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Imran was not available for comment but Fawad Chaudhry, a spokesman for his political party, dismissed the accusations against Imran as politically motivated, telling reporters they were being used to block ̛mran from leading anti-government rallies.

Some supports of Imran warned of trouble if police took action. "If Imran Khan is arrested ... we will take over Islamabad with people's power," a former minister in Imran's cabinet, Ali Amin Gandapur, said in a post on Twitter.


The use of anti-terrorism laws as the basis of cases against political leaders is not uncommon in Pakistan, where Imran's government also used them against opponents and critics.

PTIworkers-Banigala PTI supporters shout slogans as they guard outside the Imran's residence in Islamabad. AFP

Later on Monday, a court defused the immediate tension by granting Imran three days of pre-arrest bail, Imran's lawyer, Babar Awan, told reporters. The supporters began to disperse upon hearing that.

Police filed charges against Imran on Saturday over what they said was a threat against officials in the speech in which he spoke about the alleged torture by police of one of his aides, who faces sedition charges for inciting mutiny in the military.

"We will not spare you," Imran said in the speech, in which he named the police chief and the judge involved in the case against his aide. Police cited that comment in a report seen by Reuters.

"The purpose of the speech was to spread terror amongst the police and the judiciary and prevent them from doing their duty," police said in the report.


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