Video: Pakistan police use water cannon, tear gas on Imran Khan’s supporters

Pakistan police on Wednesday fired tear gas and used water cannons to disperse supporters of ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan who gathered outside his residence here in violation of a government ban on rallies.

Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) claimed that its “peaceful” activists were arrested as reports emerged that the provincial capital had been placed under Section 144 banning public gatherings.

The party termed the police action as “fascist” and an attempt to “pave the way” for arresting the 70-year-old former cricketer-turned-politician.

A heavy contingent of police placed containers and barriers on the way to Khan’s residence, blocking all entry.

Police used water cannons, lobbed tear gas shells and lathicharged PTI workers including women. The party said that the police made the protesting workers sit in the police van.

The riot police also broke into the cars of PTI workers parked at Zaman Park. Police officers also manhandled journalists who protested the action, it claimed.

Last Sunday, the police failed to arrest Khan mainly due to resistance from a large number of PTI workers.

Khan has been in the crosshairs for buying gifts, including an expensive Graff wristwatch, which he obtained as a premier at a discounted price from a state depository called Toshakhana, and selling them for a profit.

The police have registered at least 76 cases against the PTI chief since he was ousted from power in April last year.

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Senior PTI leader Hammad Azhar said at a press conference here, “Police have arrested several PTI workers who had gathered at Zaman Park.”

He said the police manhandled PTI workers and also assaulted women.

“Punjab’s caretaker chief minister Mohsin Naqvi initiated crackdown on PTI workers at the behest of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who is directly running the Punjab government,” he said.

He said that it is the fear of Imran Khan which has made the government restless.

He said, ‘How can the government ban rallies in Lahore, when elections have been announced in Punjab on April 30.’

Shireen Mazari, another senior PTI leader said, “Women workers of PTI are being attacked with water cannons. They are using chemicals in the water.” Water cannons are being fired especially at our women workers.”

The PTI rally was to be taken out for the “respect and dignity of the judiciary”.

Interior minister Rana Sanaullah justified the police action, saying “we had received terror alerts from agencies” so public meetings and rallies were banned in Punjab.

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