In politics, arrests, detention, lathi charge, election victories and defeats are common jargons. I abhor the idea of being arrested just for the sake of politics.
So, I will be among those who do not celebrate politicians’ arrests. Sadly, it was Imran Khan who used to take pleasure in the arrest of his opponents. Now is the time that his opponents should hold back, and instead of celebrating Imran Khan’s arrest, should take a new turn. A U-turn, I am demanding.
I was a bit curious in the post-verdict developments when Imran Khan was sentenced in the Toshakhana case by a local court in Islamabad. The aftermath of the verdict raised questions about the manner of his arrest, leading to tense moments and heavy police presence in Lahore.
TV channels were flashing ticker after ticker that Imran Khan was conspicuously absent from the courtroom when the verdict was announced, instead residing at his Lahore home in Zaman Park.
I learned from a police officer friend that after the verdict, the Zaman Park residence was encircled by law enforcement, marking the beginning of a meticulously executed operation. The streets leading to Zaman Park were sealed off, resulting in traffic congestion across several major roads including Mall Road, Canal Road, Jail Road, Davis Road, and Allama Iqbal Road.
The news of Imran Khan’s sentencing reverberated through Lahore’s media channels, and journalists scrambled to reach Zaman Park to cover the unfolding events. However, police barricades thwarted their attempts, denying them access to the Chairman’s residence. The subsequent arrest operation unfolded in a matter of minutes, as Imran Khan was escorted under heavy guard from Zaman Park to various points in Lahore, including Dharampura Bridge and the old airport. This movement of the police convoy through the city paralyzed traffic, as roads were temporarily closed for security reasons.
Punjab Caretaker Information Minister Amir Mir clarified that while Islamabad Police led the arrest, Lahore Police played a supporting role. This coordination aimed to ensure a seamless operation while maintaining public safety and minimizing disruptions.
Following Imran Khan’s transfer, the roads to Zaman Park were reopened, marking the first time since May 9 that media vehicles could be seen in close proximity to the residence. However, stringent security measures remained in place, preventing media personnel from approaching the premises. While the news of Imran Khan’s arrest buzzed on social media platforms, the immediate vicinity of Zaman Park remained relatively quiet for the initial hour after the arrest.
Tensions escalated briefly when a group of lawyers affiliated with Tehreek-e-Insaf gathered outside Imran Khan’s residence to protest against his arrest. A few managed to breach police barriers and enter the house, joined by media personnel. The presence of lawyers seemed to prompt the withdrawal of police forces from the immediate vicinity, allowing some individuals to gain access.
It became apparent that the arrest had been conducted with minimal resistance. According to witnesses present at the scene, Imran Khan’s employees confirmed that he was taken into custody without any untoward incident.
In a carefully timed move, Tehreek-e-Insaf released a video message featuring Imran Khan, evidently recorded in anticipation of his arrest. In the video, Khan urged his supporters to engage in peaceful protests in response to his detention, emphasizing the importance of maintaining order and stability.
The arrest of a prominent political figure like Imran Khan invariably triggers a wave of public discourse and speculation. While this operation unfolded with a notable absence of violence, the political aftermath and public response remain subjects of great interest. The efficient coordination between Islamabad and Lahore police in effecting the arrest while averting major disruptions reflects a degree of planning and discipline that seeks to uphold the rule of law while respecting public sentiment. As the case progresses, it remains to be seen how this development will impact the political landscape of Pakistan.