All eyes were fixed on Zaman Park as the standoff between the police and PTI workers continued on Tuesday and Wednesday after the law enforcement agencies tried to arrest the former prime minister Imran Khan in connection with the Toshakhana case. Even the international media remained on its toes throughout the day while covering the event. CNN, Qatar-based Al Jazeera, The Indian Express, Sky News, The Telegraph, Anadolu Agency, Bloomberg, Scroll.in and TRT World gave extensive coverage with some running a live blog. It was a scene of total madness, as police personnel and Rangers tried to enter Imran’s residence in Lahore but were met with severe resistance from the PTI workers who pelted them with stones.
The party workers had gathered outside Zaman Park on the call of PTI Chairman Imran Khan. According to the Punjab police chief, several police officials were seriously injured. So tense was the situation that President Arif Alvi renewed his offer to mediate among the warring political forces. Imran Khan, in his address through video link, warned that the situation would get out of his hands if the shelling continued. He further said that “hope lies with the courts and establishment” in ending this “farce”.
On Wednesday, the law enforcement agencies had to retreat after PTI supporters hurled stones and plastic bottles filled with petrol at them, following which there were celebrations outside Zaman Park. Imran Khan went on to say that the interior ministry itself had said that his life was in danger and that the case was being heard at the F-8 kutchery which had seen blasts in the past. He said many lawyers and judges had lost their lives.
The PTI chairman said he was ready to go to jail but his workers had stopped him, fearing custodial torture. PTI’s official account continued to post videos of clashes, however the videos could not be independently verified. It were not just party workers who were rallying behind the PTI chairman, many celebrities also expressed their support on social media.
Among them was actor Adnan Siddiqui who called support for Imran unprecedented. Then there was Atiqa Odho, who took to Instagram to express her support for the former prime minister. Actors Maya Ali, Mariyam Nafees, Fahad Mirza, Farhan Saeed and Youtuber Shahveer Jafry were also vocal in their support for Imran Khan. With the country facing economic meltdown and the International Monetary Fund still not releasing the installment, political uncertainty was the last thing that was needed. Pakistan is on a ventilator, but our political leaders seem least bothered. This political tug of war will lead us nowhere. Why don’t we think of the country for once?