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Saturday April 20, 2024

Violent protests, arrest of PTI leaders, activists continue across country

By Arshad Dogar & Javed Aziz Khan
May 13, 2023

LAHORE/PESHAWAR: Violent protests as well as the arrest of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leaders and activists continued across the country on Friday, despite the release of party chairman Imran Khan by the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

Three more senior PTI leaders, including Dr Yasmin Rashid, Dr Shireen Mazari and Amir Dogar, were arrested from Lahore, Islamabad and Multan respectively, while the house of Murad Saeed was raided in Swat.

“The PTI leadership will decide the next political course of action after consultation,” a statement issued by the party said on Friday.

“The party believes in peaceful political struggle and it hopes that all institutions will strictly follow the orders of the Supreme Court and take care of security of Chairman Imran Khan,” added the statement.

The party issued a statement on the social media condemning the arrest of Dr Yasmin, Shireen Mazari and Amir Dogar, but did not provide further information on the issue.

A former PTI lawmaker Kanwal Shauzab said, “50 Islamabad Police personnel raided Shireen’s house at 3am and arrested her. She is a brave leader of the PTI and a patriotic Pakistani and this is the crime for which she has been taken into custody.”

PTI leader Andaleeb Abbas revealed that Dr Yasmin Rashid was staying in Defence or Cavalry Ground and she was taken away at 6:30am. She said her colleague had been absent from her home for several days due to police raids.

“Two days ago, Dr Yasmin Rashid’s 80-year-old husband and 76-year-old brother-in-law were also arrested from their family residence,” she added. Her brother-in-law is still in custody, but her husband was released due to his poor health.

“Forty to 50 people came with four to five vehicles to arrest Dr Yasmin,” Abbas added.

The police Friday also arrested PTI leader and former Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM), Malik Amir Dogar, under 3MPO from outside Lahore High Court, Multan bench.

DSP Multan Cantt Police Rao Tariq Pervaiz informed the media that Dogar was detained by the police under 3MPO whose orders were issued by the deputy commissioner.

The security personnel have rounded up over 1,800 PTI leaders and supporters since the protests began on Tuesday.

On Friday, the Punjab Police arrested several PTI workers, including women, who had reached Liberty Chowk to celebrate the release of Imran Khan. PTI Central Punjab General Secretary Hammad Azhar had called the workers to the venue to celebrate the party leader’s release.

Inspector General of Police (IGP), Punjab, Dr Usman Anwar, Friday said some of the miscreants involved in attack on the Jinnah House [Lahore corps commander’s house], vandalism, violence and arson at buildings of public and private institutions had been identified and legal action was being taken against them.

He said criminals involved in attacks on sensitive installations were being identified and traced through CCTV footages, video recordings and social media posts.

According to sources, the police teams have arrested more than 2,790 miscreants from different districts across province so far.

A spokesperson for the Punjab Police said more than 152 police officers and officials were injured in the violent acts, including 63 officers and personnel from the provincial capital Lahore, 26 in Faisalabad, 13 in Gujranwala, 29 in Rawalpindi, 10 in Attock, five in Sialkot and six in Mianwali.

Meanwhile, raids were conducted on the houses and hujras of a number of leaders and former lawmakers of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in different districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for their involvement in leading violent protests and attacks on public and private properties.

In Peshawar, police conducted raids on the houses and hujras of some former lawmakers. However, none of them could be held. Police arrested some other people from these places.

Reports said raids were conducted on the houses of former cabinet members and MPAs Ishtiaq Urmar, Arbab Jahandad, Asif Khan, Taimur Jhagra and others. But none of them could be arrested.

“Our officials along with policewomen are still conducting raids. We have arrested 98 accused so far after they were nominated in 25 different FIRs in Peshawar for violent protests and creating law and order situation,” an official said. He added over 190 people have been nominated in the FIRs.

Raids on the houses of other lawmakers were also conducted in different districts of the province.

Over 300 people have been arrested from across the province after mobs attacked and torched public and private properties and fired shots during PTI rallies while protesting the arrest of ousted prime minister Imran Khan.

Officials said the photos and videos of many attackers have been circulated to help identify and arrest them. These photos and videos were taken from the CCTV cameras and mobile phone videos.

Seven people had lost lost lives while over 106 civilians and 46 policemen were injured in violent clashes in Peshawar and other districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa during two days of violent protests. Four of those were killed in Peshawar, two in Kohat and one in Dir Lower.

Army has been called in to help the police in maintaining law and order in the province. Platoons of Frontier Constabulary were also deployed to assist the police.

Army and other forces patrolled different areas of the provincial capital. Senior army officials also visited the places attacked by the mob.

In Peshawar, the protesters damaged or torched 15 state properties and several private buildings. Also, 12 vehicles, mostly official cars or ambulances, were torched or damaged.

Apart from the office of the Election Commission, the state-run radio and news agency, NAB office, the lines of the traffic police, police posts, stations of the BRT service, toll plaza in Chakdara and other public and private buildings have come under attack by the mob.

The protesters threw stones at the Balahisar Fort, the headquarters of paramilitary Frontier Corps.

Schools in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa remained closed due to the situation while the annual examination of the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education were postponed. Internet service remained suspended and was restored on Friday.

Meanwhile, the police also raided the hujras (male guesthouses) of former chief minister of KP Mehmood Khan and erstwhile federal minister Murad Saeed but both were not found there, sources said Friday.

The official sources said the raids were conducted late Thursday but both the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leaders were missing.

The police arrested Chairman of Matta Tehsil, Abdullah, who is the brother of Mehmood Khan during the raid in Matta. He was shifted to Swat Prison.

A heavy contingent of police raided the hujra of Murad Saeed in the Kabal Town as well. The police deputed guards at the male guest house before leaving the premises.

District police in Charsadda and Mansehra have registered cases against several leaders of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, including former law minister, and also arrested 50 activists in the wake of recent protests and damage to public properties.

However, none of the district leaders of the party have been arrested so far and even the police have booked those PTI leaders who were not even present at the protests.

Those booked include former lawmakers Fazal Shakoor Khan, Khalid Mohmand, district president Azizullah Khan and several others under the Anti-Terrorism Act and Maintenance of Public Order law. Around 50 PTI activists have been arrested so far. However, PTI leaders have termed the cases as political victimisation.

The police in Lower Kohistan on Friday arrested over a dozen workers and office-bearers of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf for blocking the Karakoram Highway.

Police raided the houses of PTI workers and office bearers in parts of the district and arrested them under 3 MPO.

The district president Gulzada, senior vice president Malik Abdul Hakeem and general secretary Rasool Khan were also arrested and shifted to an undisclosed location.