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December 9, 2019

PTI-UK elected body distances itself from protest: Slogan to shoot Nawaz raised during London protest

Top Story

December 9, 2019

LONDON: A group of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) supporters held a protest outside Avenfield flats where call to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s murder by shooting was made by a protestor; another protestor threatened to break the law and a group of protestor attempted to break down the main gate.

Around 40 protestors, led by Tariq Mehmood who runs a group called ‘Pakistan Patriotic Front’, raised slogans in support of PTI and many were wearing PTI caps. Most of the protestors are seen often at the PTI protests but PTI’s elected body issued a statement distancing itself from the protest.

A protestor can be heard shouting in the video that “some shoot him” in reference to Nawaz Sharif’s presence at the third floor flat in Avenfield flats. Another protestor was carrying the poster which read “we cannot wait for the law”, “Avenfield belongs to us to keep”, “Imran Khan our pride” and “long live PTI”. Another protestor called for the Taleban style bombing of the Avenfield apartments and said that casualties in such bombings are normal. One speaker used threatening language for Asif Saeed Khosa, the Chief Justice of Pakistan.

Video footage shows at least three protestors banging the front gate in order to break down while two protestors entered inside the gate from side entrance and were asked by the police to come out. Similar scenes were witnessed when Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz left for Pakistan to go to jail in the summer of 2018, a few days before the general elections.

Ahead of the violent protest on Sunday, Tariq Mehmood (also known as Chaduhry Tariq) issued a call asking for the occupation of Avenfield House through violence.

He said in a viral audio message: “Its our duty to occupy property of these people. This is our right. This property belongs the people of Pakistan. We are monitoring the whole situation and if needed we will move in. We will move into the Avenfield house in the same way that property of Libyan leader Qaddafi was occupied and the British govt took no action against them because the govt thought these properties were made with the looted money. For us to occupy these properties, it’s our right because this money belongs to Pakistan. Its our duty to occupy properties of everyone who comes to the UK.”

Ahead of Nawaz Sharif’s arrival, elected senior official of PTI in UK Soraya Aziz had issued a similar call for violence on Twitter. Soraya Aziz, who is Head of Computing at the Beths Grammar School in Bexley, Kent, said: “For his own safety, I strongly recommend Nawaz Sharif not leave his Avenfield Apartments. If he’s seen shopping in Knightsbridge, overseas Pakistanis will give him response even his few remaining platelets won’t know where to hide!!”

Taqveem Ahsan Siddiqui, in a statement issued earlier on Sunday said: “The PTI has not called for any demonstration outside disqualified Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s residence”.

Siddiqui said: “It has been brought to our attention that an invite to demonstrate outside his residence is in circulation. PTI UK does not have any intention to call or join any demonstration outside Nawaz Sharif’s residence until he abides by his bail condition.”

He added that Nawaz was in UK for a medical check-up as per conditions granted by the Lahore High Court (LHC) and, as long as the bail conditions were effective and he abides by them, the PTI UK had no intention to have any activism outside his residence.

Siddiqui said PTI UK distances itself from any such event or individual calling for such event until announced through official means and office bearers of the Party chapter in UK.

He added: "PTI UK advises all supporters and activists of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf to get confirmation from their respective elected officials of the chapters before attending any such activities.”

At the start of the protest, Anwar Saeed, who organised the protest with Tariq Mehmood, physically attacked Ather Kazmi, UK bureau chief of a private channel. In the footage, Saeed Anwar can be seen snatching mobile phone of the journalist and asking him what he was reporting and why he was there at the scene. “This man has attacked me,” says Kazmi in the video.

A spokesperson for Nawaz's party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), said Mehmood has been reported to the police over the “violent threats he had made”.

The spokesperson added that Mehmood had issued violent threats of entering the property by force, which is an offence, and the police had been informed. “We have also told the police that Tariq Mehmood has relations with an extremist group and he is known for issuing threats to community members.”

Mehmood, who has campaigned for the release of Karachi gangster Uzair Baloch, has claimed in posters that he was arranging demonstrations to “demand recovery of looted wealth”.

Mehmood has also been linked to Musharraf’s All Pakistan Muslim League (APML), Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP), and former interior minister of Sindh, Zulfiqar Mirza. He doesn’t have any official position in PTI but he often arranges protest in association with officials of PTI and uses PTI’s name for his activities.