Monday June 24, 2024

Govt releases JUI-F lawmakers, workers following countrywide protests

JUI-F spokesperson confirmed the release of party workers and thanked the Opposition parties and their workers for extending support

By Ayaz Akbar Yousafzai & Azaz Syed 
March 11, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Following the countrywide protests, the government on Friday released two JUI-F lawmakers and workers of Ansarul Islam, who were taken into custody last night during a police raid at the Parliament Lodges in Islamabad.

As per the details, the Islamabad Police, on Thursday evening, stormed the Parliament Lodges and arrested JUI-F’s two MNAs named Maulana Jamaluddin and Salahuddin Ayubi, besides apprehending more than a dozen of Ansar-ul-Islam workers — a uniformed volunteer force of the JUI. Meanwhile, JUI-F’s spokesperson Mufti Abdullah was also arrested by the police.

Following the arrest of party workers and parliamentarians, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman had called a countrywide protest and instructed party workers to stage a demonstration, subsequently, late-night Fazlur Rehman called off protest until morning and demanded to release the arrested party workers.

However, in the wee hours of Friday, the police released JUI-F MNA’s Maulana Jamaluddin, Salahuddin Ayubi and other party workers on bail bonds and personal guarantees.

JUI-F spokesperson Aslam Ghouri confirmed the release of party workers on the microblogging site Twitter and thanked opposition parties and their workers for extending support.

“We want to thank the leadership of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), however the next course of action will be decided after consultation with leadership,” he said

On the other hand, the police have cordoned off all the roads leading towards Parliament amid the JUI-F protest against the arrest of party workers.

JUI-F files  complaint against  police operation  

Meanwhile, JUI-F Senator Kamran Murtaza, along with a group of lawyers, has filed a complaint against the police operation inside the Parliament Lodges.

The lawyer’s leader, who also suffered injures during the police action, approached Secretariat Police Station seeking the registration of an FIR after getting medical treatment.

“Islamabad Police abducted MNA Sallahuddin Ayubi, MNA Jamal Uddin and their guests from the Parliament Lodges on Thursday, March 10,” read the application.

“Police officers smashed down MNA Salahuddin Ayubi's lodge and entered the premises,” it added.

The complainant stated that the police tortured him and others including MNAs Saad Rafiq and Agha Rafiullah.

The MNAs were injured as a result of police action, according to the complaint.

It further stated that the police did not have arrest warrants or the permission of the National Assembly speaker to enter the lodge.

The incident occurred in the presence of the ADC, DIG, and other police officers, according to the statement.

“The policemen were told that they can not arrest MNAs like this and that the Opposition parties have submitted a no-trust motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan.

“In this police operation, the home minister's approval can not be ruled out. Serious disciplinary and legal action against the offenders should be taken.”

Police action shows  'Imran's nervousness' 

The Opposition parties, however, have termed the action a result of the government's "nervousness" due to the no-trust motion submitted in the National Assembly against Prime Minister Imran Khan.

In a statement late night, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari lashed out at the ruling party and warned it to refrain from such high handedness.

“Violence against members of the Parliament and their arrests is unbearable and this is enough,” he had said, adding that consequences of such "dictatorial acts" will not be good for the PTI government.

The PPP leader had said that PM Imran Khan’s efforts to frighten the members of the Parliament through the police "will not bear fruits for him."

“Members of the Parliament have lost confidence in Prime Minister Imran Khan,” he had said adding that “panicked and selected Imran Khan has started harassing the members of the Parliament.”

‘Private militia not allowed’

Addressing a press conference after the police action, Rasheed had said the Opposition was bringing "mobs" into the Parliament, adding that "no one is allowed to keep private militia".

He said the police did not arrest the two JUI MNAs, instead, they had "voluntarily gotten themselves arrested" to "show off", and that "19 private militia members were in police custody."

"What is their issue? The issue is that Imran Khan has adopted a sovereign foreign policy — we are with the United States, Russia, and China. In the Ukraine-Russia war, we are a neutral player," he had said.

The interior minister had also warned the Opposition against taking the law into their hands, as he said that there was an attempt to destroy the peace of the country.

Rasheed had referred to Director-General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar's press conference — where he mentioned that an Indian projectile entered Pakistan's airspace — and said that this is "Pakistan's security issue [and the Opposition should] not play with it]".

The federal minister had said the government conducted "five-hour long talks with the Opposition" as Pakistan was not a "banana state".

"I have directed all chief secretaries and inspector generals to take those into custody who attempt to take the law into their hands."

Rasheed had said after the talks with the Opposition "failed", he brought the matter into the NA speaker's notice and ordered the Islamabad police to arrest the Ansar-ul-Islam volunteers.

"70 people were there; 19 have been arrested; others will be identified and arrested," he said and stressed that the no-confidence motion was "a failure, a failure, a failure, a failure, a failure, as the Opposition cannot gather 172 members".