Pakistan police arrest over 100 supporters of Khan
Pakistani police have arrested more than 100 supporters of opposition leader Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party who entered Islamabad ahead of a planned protest in the capital, the interior minister says.
“About 450 people entered Islamabad today,” Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told a press conference in Islamabad on Sunday, adding, “Police intercepted them but most of them ran away, many leaving their cars behind. Police arrested more than 100 of them.”
The minister said officers had confiscated seven Kalashnikov rifles, 21 rifle magazines, seven bulletproof jackets and tear gas canisters during the arrests.
Some 1,200 PTI activists, the Pakistani minister said, tried to drive in convoy to Islamabad from the northwestern city of Peshawar on Saturday night. When security forces stopped them on the motorway, they beat up officers but had to retreat when reinforcements arrived, he added.
The interior minister also stated that the PTI planned to occupy an office complex housing government ministries in Islamabad. “They want to occupy the Pakistan Secretariat and the plan is not to allow government employees to enter.”
“The lockdown of the capital is not a crime against government, but a crime against the state. We are a nuclear power and what impression will it make before the world if a mob comes to the capital of the country to shut it down?”
Imran Khan has vehemently denied that his supporters possessed weapons.
Khan, a former Pakistan cricket star who turned politician, has described the upcoming mass protest on November 2 as a final push to force Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to resign over corruption allegations.
The PTI chief led a previous mass protest in the summer of 2014 in front of the parliament, calling for the government to resign over election rigging allegations.
Khan says the anti-government protests would continue until the Sharif administration offers an appropriate response to the corruption allegations.
Leaked confidential documents from the Panamanian Mossack Fonseca law firm have shown how the company helped rich and powerful clients across the world with shady businesses. The clients reportedly include three of Sharif’s children who carried out business transactions that could be judged as money laundering and tax avoidance.
The leaked records revealed that Sharif’s children, Hasan, Hussain and Maryam, not only owned offshore companies, but also real estate properties in London. Sharif’s family denies any wrongdoing.
People in Pakistan, with Imran Khan at the helm, are asking for an inquiry to determine how Sharif’s children made all that money to buy the offshore companies and real estate in London’s prime locations, and whether they had paid their due tax on their income.