Police ‘hounding’ active Opposition workers

Published November 30, 2020
Punjab PPP president Qamar Zaman Kaira says party workers are being picked up even from as far-off districts from Multan as Gujrat and Mandi Bahauddin. — DawnNewsTV/File
Punjab PPP president Qamar Zaman Kaira says party workers are being picked up even from as far-off districts from Multan as Gujrat and Mandi Bahauddin. — DawnNewsTV/File

LAHORE: After failing to convince the opposition to put off its protest campaign in the wake of second wave of Covid-19, the government has resorted to the time-tested practice of arresting political activists across the province a day before Multan rally of the 11-party alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).

Reports received here from various districts of Punjab, particularly its southern belt, suggest the police are raiding homes of PML-N and PPP leaders and active workers and detaining them.

The opposition parties also shared with media orders issued by some deputy commissioners to put behind bars for seven days notables of the two major constituents of the PDM. Police are also placing containers and erecting other barriers on exit points of major towns around Multan and on roads leading to Multan in a bid to thwart Monday’s rally in Multan. The bridge on river Sutlej has also been closed to traffic with the help of containers.

Punjab PPP president Qamar Zaman Kaira says party workers are being picked up even from as far-off districts from Multan as Gujrat and Mandi Bahauddin, while the action is more intensive in districts falling in Bahawalpur, Multan and Dera Ghazi Khan divisions.

Vehicles being searched at provincial border

He says party office-bearers are also being put under house arrest as police carrying lists of diehard activists are raiding and encircling their homes in Tobe Tek Singh, Faisalabad, Jhang, Okara, Pakpattan and Sahiwal too.

The PML-N also shared lists of scores of workers who have either been detained or police have laid a siege to their houses in various districts. They included sitting MPs like Tallal Chaudhry, Ayesha Rajab, Naveed Kashif, Saqib Khurshid and Chaudhry Yousuf, and former MPs like Tehmina Daultana, Engr Bilal Khar.

Tallal says police are trying to deter his plans for receiving Maryam Nawaz Sharif at Jaranwala and taking her to Multan in a procession.

RAHIM YAR KHAN: Local leaders of the main opposition parties --PML-N and PPP -- have accused police of conducting raids and arresting their workers, besides using other pressure tactics to stop them from attending the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM’s) public meeting in Multan on Monday (today).

PML-N district president Azhar Khan Leghari and secretary general Imtiaz Ahmed said at a press conference here on Sunday that the opposition wanted a peaceful protest but police were raiding houses of the party workers and arresting them.

They alleged that the government was pushing their peaceful protest towards violence. They said they were protesting against the price-hike and unemployment imposed by the government after “steeling the election”, vowing the PML-N workers would reach the PDM meeting venue, Qila Kohna Qasim Bagh Stadium Multan on Monday after removing all the blockades.

Mian Imtiaz said private transport owners were being forced to deny vehicles to take workers to the PDM event, while all the printing press owners had been threatened and warned against preparing opposition banners and stickers. He said raids were also being conducted on PML-N former councillors and union council chairmen to stop them from attending the meeting in Multan.

Similarly, PPP divisional president Engineer Javed Akbar Dhaloon and deputy information secretary Mehmood ul Hassan told journalists that the party workers were being subjected to torture to bar them from attending the public meeting.

They demanded immediate release of the PPP local workers picked by police and “unlawful arrests” of political activists be stopped, calling such actions dictatorial.

Meanwhile, police stopped many vehicles at Kot Sabzal (Punjab Sindh border) on the National Highway and blocked it for the opposition workers, mainly of the PPP, coming from Sindh to participate in the party’s foundation day event in Multan that coincide with the PDM show hosted by the PPP.

As per sources, the inter-provincial highway has been blocked for traffic by placing containers guarded by heavy contingents of police.

All the vehicles entering Punjab were being checked thoroughly and there were instructions by the administration for arrest of any political worker onboard intending to join the PDM Multan show.

TT SINGH: The district police continued crackdown on the PPP and PML-N activists on Sunday to restrain them from reaching Multan to participate in the PDM public meeting on Monday.

They said police teams raided houses of dozens of opposition workers and local leaders, besides the offices of the two parties and arrested a a number of political activists.

Those arrested include PPP’s Pirmahal city president Rana Muhammad Jamil, Gojra Municipal Committee former vice chairman and PPP Gojra city president Mian Islam Abid, PPP Toba activists Tahir Anwar and Muhammad Irfan and PML-N Toba activist Dr Mian Muhammad Ihsan.

BAHAWALPUR: The district police in a major crackdown across the district arrested at least 40 activists of the main opposition parties - PPP, PML-N and JUI-F.

As per sources, the police swung into action on Saturday night to thwart the departure of opposition parties’ workers to Multan to participate in the PDM public meeting on Monday.

They said the police conducted raids on the houses and other places in the city and Ahmedpur East, Hasilpur, Yazman and Khairpur Tamewali towns to arrest opposition parties activists leaving for Multan.

Besides the urban areas, the police also restricted the movement of opposition parties in the rural areas of the district, they added.

Dawn has so far confirmed the arrest of at least 40 opposition activists who were detained in different police stations in the district. Of them, as per police sources, 25were arrested in Bahawalpur, while the remaining 11 in Ahmedpur East and Uch Sharif.

The sources said more arrests were expected on Sunday night.

They said the police teams were also keeping an eye on local bus and van stands, besides the railway station to nab the opposition parties’ workers to stop them from reaching Multan. Public transport vehicles were also being checked, they added.

Meanwhile, former federal minister Baleeghur Rehman, who is PML-N deputy secretary general and Rana Tariq, a former ticket-holder, in a joint statement condemned the arrests. They said the PTI government was using “fascists tactics” to bar the political workers from going to Multan and participating in the opposition public meeting there.

They warned of “severe reaction” by the PML-N and its leadership if the workers were subjected to torture and excesses, demanding their immediate release.

MUZAFFARGARH: The district administration had placed containers on Muzaffargarh-Multan roads to stop people from participating in the PDM show.

More than a dozen local leaders of PML-N, including Chaudhry Amir Karamat and Bilal Khar, had been arrested under 16 MPO.

Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2020

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