LAHORE/FAISALABAD: Former state minister and firebrand PML-N politician, Talal Chaudhry, was allegedly thrashed by unidentified people in Faisalabad on the night of Sept 23 and is currently being treated at a hospital in Lahore.
Sources told Dawn that on Sept 23 midnight, Chaudhry had called police helpline 15 and reported a robbery in Abdullah Garden, Faisalabad. A few minutes later, PML-N MNA Ayesha Rajab Ali informed police that there were three suspicious men were present outside her house in Abdullah Garden in a white car.
They said that on being informed of the incident, the head of the police checkpost rushed to the spot where the PML-N leader was also present. A few ‘notables’ also reached the spot a short while later and told the police that nothing actually had happened and the confusion had arisen out of a misunderstanding. These notables assured the police they would settle the issue amicably.
Sources said the unidentified people had thrashed Chaudhry because of which his left shoulder was fractured.
Denies involvement of party MNA, contrary to his claims in viral videos
Chaudhry’s close associates told Dawn that he would be discharged from the hospital soon as his condition was stable. They tried to dispel the impression that the PML-N leader had been tortured by the family members of MNA Ayesha.
Talking to the media, the former minister’s brother, Bilal Chaudhry, said four people had thrashed his brother on Canal Road, adding that Chaudhry had sustained minor injuries and was being treated in Lahore. He said there was no truth to the reports of assault on a woman by Chaudhry.
A police officer said that neither side had submitted application for registration of a case, and attempts for reconciliation between them were under way.
On the other hand, a video showing Chaudhry standing outside a house that was said to belong to MNA Ayesha went viral on social media wherein he could be heard asking policemen to get his mobile phone recovered from the people inside the house. He told police that he was called to the spot in connection with party affairs, and also showed them his arm that he said had been fractured.
When police started to record his statement, he said he would submit one later.
Issuing a statement in Lahore late on Saturday, Talal Chaudhry said that the incident had nothing to do with any woman MNA as being portrayed in the media.
He told police that he had gone to meet some PML-N workers in connection with “re-organisation of the party in the district” when he was attacked by unidentified men who fractured his arm. He said the attackers also took away his mobile.
Chaudhry claimed the media was running fake news about the involvement of a woman MNA. “Some miscreants are also giving it a political colour (to the incident) for their vested interests which should be condemned,” he said and requested that women must always be accorded due respect and their names must never be dragged into controversies.
A private TV channel quoted a brother of MNA Ayesha as saying that their family had nothing to do with this matter. “Talal Chaudhry is like a brother to us,” he said.
Not one to let go of any opportunity to criticise the opposition, the PTI forward line led by the likes of Punjab minister Fayyazul Hassan Chohan let loose a barrage of assaults at the PML-N.
Prime Minister’s Special Assistant Shahbaz Gill tweeted: “Maryam Nawaz has pressured the party woman MNA who was harassed by Talal Chaudhry to give a statement in his favour. Talal’s party membership should be suspended.”
In response, PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb called Mr Gill’s statement rubbish. “Mr Talal has already explained the matter,” she said.
Later, PML-N Punjab President Rana Sanaullah constituted a fact-finding committee on the incident with party leaders Saira Afzal Tarar and Akram Ansari as its members. The committee will submit its findings to the party leadership in three days.
Published in Dawn, September 27th, 2020