ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) Islamabad wing has alleged that law enforcement agencies are threatening party workers, who have been preparing for ‘Azadi March’ scheduled to be held on August 14.
However, the Islamabad police have denied the allegations and say that they are only collecting the contact numbers and preparing the list of PTI workers, which is a standard operating procedure (SOP) of the security branch.
Organiser of the Azadi March in Islamabad, Ali Awan, while talking to Dawn, said that the law enforcement agencies have been threatening PTI workers for the last few days.
“The officials are not only gathering information about the workers and arrangements of the march, but are also threatening them with detention in lockups before the march,” he said.
“Police officials are going to the residences of the workers,” Awan added.
Mohammad Mazhar, a resident of Sector I-10 who is working for PTI, said that initially Safdar, an official of Sabzi Mandi Police Station, called him and asked for the list of PTI workers and their contact numbers.
Police are threatening party workers with detention in lockups, alleges a PTI official
“I refused to give the information, due to which two officials, Muneer and Mashooq, reached my house. I was not at home, so my wife told me that police officials had visited my house. I have given them the contact number of one of our workers and have been trying to avoid the police since then,” he said.
Awais Abbasi, a worker from Bari Imam, said that an official from the Secretariat Police Station called him and inquired about the details of the workers.
“The official also asked me about the arrangements for August 14,” he said.
“Another police official, Abdul Rauf, called me and threatened that the police have decided to detain the workers for almost 15 days in police stations,” Abbasi claimed.
Ali Awan said that there was a long list of workers who were getting threats from police, special branch and other wings of the police.
“Industrial Area Police have threatened Shahzad, a resident of Sector I-9. In Sector F-6, the police stopped a worker named Sohail on the road and asked him about his role in the march. Police officials also told him that they know his address and can take him into custody anytime,” he said.
“Syed Murad Ali Shah, a worker from Phul Garan, informed the party that Bhara Kahu police have been threatening him,” Mr Awan said.
“The police should stop these tactics because the party workers would participate in the march. We have started preparing a list of police officials and the phone numbers from where they are calling party workers,” he added.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Mohammad Ali Nekokara, while talking to Dawn, denied that the police have been threatening the PTI workers.
“The police have not entered the house of any worker. However, it is correct that the contact numbers of PTI workers are being collected,” he said.
“It is a general and old practice of the security branch. It keeps a record of the workers of religious organisation, traders and important personalities of the area. Moreover, the police stations also maintain record of political parties’ workers and other groups,” he said.
“The contact numbers are collected and a list is prepared to ensure that the workers can be contacted in case of an emergency,” he said.
“There is no proposal to arrest any worker. These numbers will only be used to convey government’s directions to the PTI workers,” the SSP claimed.
Published in Dawn, Aug 3rd, 2014