The Pakistan government plans to detain cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan and other leaders of his party to thwart his campaign to “lockdown” Islamabad through a protest beginning November 2, according to a media report on Thursday.
Khan and other leaders of his Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf party could be placed under house arrest, The News daily quoted its sources as saying.
The Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf has announced that it will mobilise thousands of its supporters for the protest aimed at ousting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif over allegations of corruption.
Khan’s party has been pressuring Sharif to order a probe into revelations in the Panama Papers leaks that the premier’s three children had offshore assets worth millions of dollars.
The News quoted its sources as saying that the government had prepared a list of senior leaders and party workers of the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf who would be detained. “These key party leaders and workers would be taken into custody and arrested before November 2, when Imran Khan plans to stop the government from functioning,” the report said.
Responding to the government’s reported plans to arrest his party’s leadership, Khan said, “We are ready for everything, we have learned from the 2014 dharna and the party is now well prepared to face any untoward situation.
“If the government tries to block the protest, which is our constitutional right, they will be responsible for the reaction,” he said.
Khan said earlier his party had decided to resort to the protest because Sharif had not presented himself for accountability or resigned.
Talks between the government and the opposition also failed to agree on the terms of reference of a judicial council which would investigate the revelations in the Panama Papers leaks.
Leaders of the ruling PML-N said recently that no one would be allowed to blockade Islamabad and any such move would be resisted by the government.