PTI, PAT leaders face sedition case

Published September 2, 2014
ISLAMABAD: A paramedic treats a protester injured during police action here on Monday.—Tanveer Shahzad/White Star
ISLAMABAD: A paramedic treats a protester injured during police action here on Monday.—Tanveer Shahzad/White Star

ISLAMABAD: Five cases have been registered against the leaders and activists of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and the Pakistan Awami Tehrik on different charges, including sedition, murder attempt and terrorism.

More than 200 activists were arrested from the Constitution Avenue and hospitals on Monday and Sunday night, officials said.

Police launched a crackdown against office-bearers and activists of the two parties in Punjab. According to a PTI leader, 150 workers were arrested only from Lahore, a claim rejected by police.

PTI leaders and activists got one of the arrested people, MPA Iftikhar Mashwani, released during an attack on the Secretariat police station, they alleged.

On Sunday evening, the government submitted a complaint to police seeking registration of a case against PAT and PTI leaders and workers, they said. Later the case was registered under section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act and the Pakistan Penal Code’s section 124-A (sedition), 324 (murder attempt), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter a public servant from discharging his duty), 148 (rioting and being armed with deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly), 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by a public servant) 452 (trespass after preparation for hurting, assaulting or wrongful restraining a person), 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with the intent to destroy a house), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions) 152 (assault to obstruct public servant when suppressing riot), 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot) and 109 (punishment of abetment if the act abetted committed in consequence and where no express provision is made for its punishment).

PTI chief Imran Khan and PAT head Dr Tahirul Qadri are among the leaders nominated in the case.

The Aabpara police registered another case against leaders and activists of the two parties on separate charges.

Likewise, the Margalla police registered two cases against PTI activists on charges of snatching weapons used in lobbing teargas shells and setting a police vehicle on fire.

PTI leaders Shireen Mazari, Arif Alvi and Shah Mehmood Qureshi, along with activists, came to the police station and, after lodging the complaint, forcibly got MPA Mashwani released from the lockup, they said. They also attacked the Moharar and the incident led to the registration of another case.

To counter the FIRs, the PTI leadership lodged a complaint with the Secretariat police to seek registration of a murder case against police, officials of the administration and a federal minister.

The case has not been registered to date.

The officials said that police were seeking legal opinion about registering a murder case against PAT and PTI leaders and activists. They claimed that on Saturday night policemen deployed at the Constitution Avenue were unarmed and two protesters were killed by bullets fired by one of the agitators.

It had been decided to insert the section pertaining to murder into the FIR registered with the Secretariat police station, they said.

The officials said that IG Khalid Khattak had directed his subordinates to register as many cases against the leaders and activists of the PTI and the PAT as they could.

Our staff reporter adds from Lahore: The Punjab police launched late on Monday night a crackdown on office-bearers and activists of the PAT and the PTI for taking part in rallies in some parts of the province and thus violating section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

The arrests were made in the light of lists sent to all station house officers of the province.

But in the provincial capital, no arrest was officially reported by police contrary to allegations levelled by a PTI leader.

Informed police sources told Dawn that the crackdown had been launched on the ‘order’ of the provincial government and the IG had issued ‘verbal’ orders to his subordinates.

Most of the office-bearers and leading activists of the two parties were reported to have gone underground to avoid arrests as policemen raided their residences and outhouses.

The sources said police had been directed to arrest PAT members across the board but to pick up only those PTI leaders and office-bearers who incited activists to hold rallies and stage sit-ins.

They said the arrested people would be booked under section 188 (disobedience to order duty promulgated by a public servant) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

Meanwhile, the Leader of Opposition in the Punjab Assembly, Mian Mahmoodur Rasheed, alleged that police had arrested around 150 PTI activists in different areas of the city.

Talking to reporters, he said the arrests had been made in Iqbal Town, Faisal Town, Shahdara and Baghbanpura.

He claimed that the provincial government had instructed its ‘Gullu Butts’ to pick up party workers to prevent them from staging demonstrations and sit-ins.

The PTI leader alleged that the party leaders were receiving threatening calls and being asked to stay at home.

Published in Dawn, September 2nd , 2014

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