By Aamir Latif
KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) – A Pakistani court on Friday ordered the arrests of two key opposition leaders and 68 others for attacking the state-run television channel headquarters during a sit-in in the capital Islamabad in September 2014.
The orders to carry out the arrests of the country’s former cricket hero, and Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) party chairman Imran Khan, and controversial cleric Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri were issued days before a planned siege of Islamabad by the PTI on Nov. 2.
The anti-terrorist court of Islamabad expressed his displeasure over police’s repeated failure to arrest Khan, Qadri, and other co-accused and ordered the police to arrest and present them before the court on Nov. 17, local English daily Dawn reported.
According to the prosecution, over 400 supporters of the two leaders had attacked state-run Pakistan Televison in September 2014 during another four-month-long siege of the parliament against alleged electoral fraud in the 2013 general election that brought Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to power.
The PTI, the country’s second-largest opposition party, led by Imran Khan, has planned to “besiege” Islamabad if Sharif fails to agree to an independent inquiry into corruption allegations against him emerging from the Panama Papers leaks earlier this year.
Sharif has been under pressure from opposition parties and the media after the Panama Papers leak revealed that his two sons Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz and his daughter Mariyam Nawaz owned offshore companies.
The country’s Supreme Court on Thursday issued notices to Sharif, his two sons, his daughter and a son-in- law on five separate petitions seeking investigations into the Panama Papers allegations.
Khan has however said he will go ahead with his siege plans despite the legal proceedings.