'Gilgit-Baltistan force' used against Punjab police to stop Imran Khan's arrest: Pak minister
Pakistan's Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb on Wednesday said that "Gilgit-Baltistan force" was being used against the Punjab police to stop them from implementing the court order to arrest former prime minister Imran Khan in a graft case.
The minister made the comments while addressing the media here before the Lahore High Court ordered the police to stop till Thursday its operation outside Khan's Zaman Park residence in Lahore to arrest him in the Toshakhana case, amid clashes between the security personnel and his supporters.
Khan, the chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party has been in the crosshairs for buying gifts, including an expensive Graff wristwatch he had received as the premier at a discounted price from the state depository called Toshakhana and selling them for profit.
On March 13, Additional District and Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal issued an arrest warrant against Khan and instructed the police to present him before the courts on March 18.
Aurangzeb said that a "Gilgit-Baltistan force" was being used to attack Punjab police, while also insisting that law enforcement officials were unarmed, according to the Dawn newspaper.
The so-called "Government of Gilgit-Baltistan" is ruled by Khan's PTI party.
Waving a copy of Khan's arrest warrant, she claimed that at least 65 policemen were injured while attempting to implement the court orders, the report said.
At the press conference, Aurangzeb accused Khan of spreading unrest and anarchy in the country.
She claimed Khan used women and children as human shields in the clash with the police, it said.
The federal government on Wednesday transferred Gilgit-Baltistan IGP Muhammad Saeed in the wake of Aurangzeb's claim that Gilgit-Baltistan police force was being used against Punjab police in their attempt to arrest Khan, the Dawn newspaper reported.
Saeed was ordered to report to the Establishment Division with immediate effect until further orders, according to a notification from the division, it added.
Lahore's Zaman Park area turned into a battleground after the PTI chief's defiant supporters engaged in pitched battles with policemen on Tuesday to stop them from arresting their leader in the Toshakhana case, resulting in injuries on both sides.
Khan, the 70-year-old former cricketer-turned-politician was ousted from power in April last year after losing a no-confidence vote, which he alleged was part of a US-led conspiracy targeting him because of his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia, China and Afghanistan.
Since his ouster, Khan has been asking for early elections to oust what he termed an "imported government" led by prime minister Shehbaz Sharif.
Sharif has maintained that elections will be held later this year once the parliament completes its five-year tenure.
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