The Islamabad police on Thursday booked PTI Chairman Imran Khan and other leaders in two separate cases on “arson and vandalism” charges.

A first information report (FIR) was registered at 1:50 after midnight at Kohsar police station over the complaint of Sub-Inspector (SI) Asif Raza under Sections 109 (abetment), 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly), 186 (obstructing public service), 188 (disobedience), 353 (assault on public servant), 427 (causing damage) and 435 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to cause damage) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

The SI complained that he was on duty along with other police personnel at Jinnah Avenue’s China Chowk when at 11 pm, about 100 to 150 people with PTI flags suddenly moved towards Express Chowk. The police tried to stop them under Section 144 but they did not listen and instead pelted stones at the police officers and also set fire to trees.

Raza said 36 individuals, who were acting at the “behest of Imran and other PTI leadership”, were “brought under control”.

Meanwhile, the second FIR was registered at 3:20 am on the complaint of SI Ghulam Sarwar under the same sections as the prior FIR. Sarwar claimed that he and other police officers were on duty at Express Chowk when at 12:30 am, 100-150 PTI protesters, equipped with rods and inflammable materials, chanted slogans, incited people and set fire to the trees and Metro Bus station near Geo Chowk, along with smashing mirrors of Geo News’ office.

SI Sarwar said as the police tried to disperse the crowd, the PTI workers resorted to stoning and also damaged a government bus. He said that 39 individuals were subsequently arrested.

The FIR filed on SI Sarwar’s complaint named Imran as well as Asad Umar, Imran Ismail, Raja Khurram Nawaz, Ali Amin Gandapur, Ali Nawaz Awan among others.

Both FIRs revolve around the events that transpired on the streets of Islamabad during the PTI’s Azadi March last night. PTI party workers and supporters were present at D-Chowk on Wednesday in the face of intense police shelling.

Television footage showed smoke rising from the ground and fires in the green belts adjacent to Islamabad’s main roads. The government and the PTI blamed each other for fire. Neither claim could be independently verified.

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