GUJRANWALA - At least 12 persons were injured in the clashes between PML-N workers and Azadi March participants here on Friday. The incident occurred when the marchers were passing through GT Road near a PML-N MPA’s office.
Reportedly, the workers of both the parties chanted slogans against each other. All of a sudden, the PML-N supporters started throwing stones at the march participants. As a result, at least four PTI workers and eight PML-N activists sustained injuries. Sabzi Mandi police have registered a case against PML-N MPA Imran Khalid Butt’s brother, Pomi Butt. On this occasion, PTI Chairman Imran Khan directed his supporters to remain peaceful. He said: “We have women and children with us and want to remain peaceful. I warn Gullu Butts to stay within limits.” He further said: “We have the strength to end Nawaz Sharif’s fake mandate.” The PTI leader asked Nawaz Sharif to understand that the masses had refused to accept the May 2013 elections.
Earlier, when Imran Khan reached Gujranwala along with Azadi March participants, thousands of PTI workers welcomed him at Chan Da Qila Bypass. The marchers proceeded from Gujranwala towards Wazirabad.
Later, MPA Imran Khalid Butt, addressing a press conference, said he was not involved in this incident and that he was ready to face investigations in this regard.
Meanwhile, Pomi Butt, accused of pelting stones on Azadi marchers in Gujranwala, has surrendered to police along with seven PML-N workers. Pomi, the brother of MPA Khalid Imran Butt, surrendered to Sabzi Mandi police. The police have registered a case against Pomi Butt and 10 other PML-N workers. Pomi, giving his statement to the police in preliminary investigations, said he neither participated in the incident nor did he incite violence.
Agencies add: Clashes broke out Friday as protesters led in convoys by cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan and a populist cleric advanced on the capital to try to topple the government they say was elected by fraud.
Police and witnesses said activists from Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) clashed with supporters of Pakistan Muslim League-N in Gujranwala.
Khan said shots were fired at his march. Telling a TV news channel, he said: “They threw stones at us while standing at police vans. They fired bullets at us.”
However, police said there were no shots and an AFP photographer at the scene also heard no gunfire.
The AFP photographer said a group of up to 40 youths who were following the convoy and shouting slogans clashed with workers from Khan’s party before being dispersed by police.
Marvi Memon, a PMLN MNA and spokeswoman, said the events in Gujranwala were “regrettable”, but said there was no shooting and her party’s workers had been provoked by what she called Khan and Qadri’s “violent speeches”. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has ordered an investigation into the clashes and appealed for calm.