Pakistan police on Tuesday registered a case against a Canadian-based cleric and 1,400 of his supporters under terrorism and other charges for attacking police and damaging public property as he returned to the country to lead a “revolution” against the government.
Punjab police also arrested more than 500 supporters of Tahir-ul-Qadri.
Amid high drama, Qadri (63) returned to Pakistan on Monday but his Islamabad-bound flight was diverted to Lahore amid fears of unrest in the capital as his supporters fought pitched battles with police, leaving over 70 security personnel injured.
The police registered a case against Qadri and his supporters for attacking police personnel, damaging public property, snatching wireless sets from policemen, causing damage to an armoured personnel carrier and creating a law and order situation on the arrival of Qadri on Monday.
Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act has also been invoked in the FIR lodged by SHO Raja Musaddiq at the Airport police station.
“Qadri is among the accused because he had asked PAT workers to gather and protest against the government,” Dawn newspaper quoted Musaddiq as saying.
Qazi Faiz, a spokesman for Qadri’s Pakistan Awami Tahreek (PAT), told PTI that the police so far had arrested more than 500 workers from different parts of the Punjab province.
“The police of Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif had already shot dead our 11 workers and registered cases against our workers instead. We will register murder cases against the Sharif brothers, their cabinet members and police officers once they will be out of power,” Faiz warned.
On Monday, when Qadri was travelling from Dubai to Islamabad on an Emirates flight, his plane was diverted to Lahore to avoid violent clashes in the capital where thousands of his supporters had gathered.
However, when the plane landed in Lahore, Qadri refused to disembark.
He first asked the army officers to come for his security then after a six-hour standoff he was persuaded by Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar to get out of the plane and leave for his home under the government security.