Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leaders fired off warnings early Monday, saying their leader would be a “red line”, as reports of Imran Khan’s imminent arrest made the rounds.
The development came after the PTI chief was booked under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act (punishment for acts of terrorism) regarding his comments at his Islamabad rally on Saturday, the Dawn reported.
A Twitter trend quickly gained traction saying: “Imran Khan hamari red line”.
As the situation escalated, Islamabad police media director Taqi Jawad told Dawn that the police reached Bani Gala, not for Imran’s arrest but due to a “possible law and order situation”.
He said reports of his arrest had been circulating since Sunday evening after which workers reached Imran’s residence and the police presence at Bani Gala was only to contain the situation. “If we decide to do anything of such sort, we will share it with the media,” he added.
A number of supporters earlier converged on Khan’s Bani Gala residence in solidarity with their leader.
PTI’s official Twitter account tweeted Fawad Chaudhry with a number of workers at the residence, with the former minister insisting Khan was at home and “hundreds of workers had reached”.
Close associates of the former prime minister, like Murad Saeed, separately announced on Twitter that arrest orders had been issued for Imran, as he urged supporters to “get out for the sake of Pakistan”.
PTI leaders asked people to converge at various locations in their respective cities with Hammad Azhar calling on them to rally at Lahore’s Liberty Chowk, while Farrukh Habib urged people to gather at Faisalabad’s Samandari Road, the Dawn report said.
Ali Amin Gandapur threatened taking over Islamabad, warning the police to not be a “part of this political war anymore”.
“If Imran Khan is arrested by the imported government we will take over Islamabad,” he warned. “And my message to police is that don’t be part of this political war anymore otherwise will deal (with) you as pdm workers not police anymore let pti and pdm leadership and workers fight and decide once and for all.”
The first information report against Khan was registered at Islamabad’s Margalla police station at 10pm on Saturday following magistrate Ali Javed’s complaint.
The FIR said that at the PTI’s rally at F-9 park a day ago, Imran Khan had “terrorised and threatened top police officials and a respected female additional sessions judge” in his address.
The FIR reproduced the PTI chairman’s comments where he spoke about the female judge and the Islamabad police officials.
In his address on Saturday, he threatened to file cases against Islamabad’s inspector general of police and deputy inspector general of police and said: “We won’t spare you.”
The former premier had also taken exception to Additional District and Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry, who had approved another PTI leader’s two-day physical remand at the request of the capital police, and said she should “prepare herself as action would be taken against her”.
The FIR argued that Imran Khan’s speech was meant to “terrorise” top police officials and the judiciary so they could not perform their functions and abstain from pursuing any action against any PTI-related individual if required to do so.
The magistrate argued that Imran’s speech had spread fear and uncertainty among the police, judges and the nation. “Terrorism has been spread the country’s peace has been harmed,” Khan had added.
The FIR requested that legal action be pursued against Imran Khan and an “exemplary punishment” be meted out.