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Imran Khan Charged With Terrorism After Clashes Between His Party Members and Police

© AFP 2023 ARIF ALISupporters of former Pakistan's prime minister Imran Khan gather around police van outside his house in Lahore on March 5, 2023
Supporters of former Pakistan's prime minister Imran Khan gather around police van outside his house in Lahore on March 5, 2023 - Sputnik India, 1920, 09.03.2023
On Wednesday, members of Imran Khan's party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), and police clashed in Lahore city, the capital of Punjab province.
A day after supporters and workers of Pakistan's main opposition party -- Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) -- clashed with law enforcement, police in the country's Punjab province charged former Prime Minister Imran Khan along with his other party politicians with terrorism.
The others include ex-Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, former lawmaker Farukh Habib, and Hassan Niazi (Imran Khan's nephew).
The police action came following violent clashes that broke out between PTI workers and supporters and the police that left one person dead.
According to the First Information Report (F.I.R.) filed at a Lahore police station, Khan, and other senior PTI politicians have been booked under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA). Other charges include murder, attempt to murder, and threatening national security.
The F.I.R. mentions that PTI members were trying to "destroy the government and its institutions brick by brick" and acting against the interests of the Pakistani state.

What Prompted Clashes?

On Monday, Khan announced a rally in Lahore to kickstart the PTI's election campaign on March 8, but the local administration imposed section 144 (preventing public congregation) in and around his residence in the city.
Police deployed Anti-Riot Force (ARF), water cannons, besides putting up several checkpoints in the area, to prevent PTI members from arriving at Khan's home in the city's Zaman Park locality.
As the PTI supporters saw the police blocking all the access routes to Khan's residence, they chose to confront them with hockey sticks and cricket bats. Police then fired tear gas shells and baton-charged them to disperse the crowd.
Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks during a news conference in Shaukat Khanum hospital, where he was being treated for a gunshot wound in Lahore, Pakistan, on Nov. 4, 2022. - Sputnik India, 1920, 06.03.2023
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Later, a spokesperson of the Lahore Police stated that "at least 11 policemen, including two DSPs and one SHO, were injured in PTI activists' torture."
He also confirmed the death of a PTI worker named Bilal Ali.
Meanwhile, Punjab's Inspector General (IG) of Police Dr. Usman Anwar formed a committee, comprising Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Elite Police Force Sadiq Ali and Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Internal Accountability Bureau (IAB) Lahore Imran Kishwar to investigate the mob attack on the police.
In his order, the IG said that the committee would look to "ascertain facts, ensure transparency and find out the reason for loss of life and property" in the violence.