QUETTA: Amid tight security the legislators belonging to opposition parties, including their leader in the Balochistan Assembly and a female MPA, who were nominated in an FIR lodged by the provincial government in connection with the June 18 incident, offered their arrest to police here on Monday.
However, the police refused to take them into custody, saying that without an investigation into the incident and proof of allegations made in the FIR no arrest could be made at this stage.
The Bijli Road Police Station had registered the FIR against 17 members of three opposition parties — the Balochistan National Party (BNP-Mengal), Jamiat Ulama-i-Islam (JUI-F) and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) — on the complaint of one Abdul Razzaq on behalf of the treasury benches. Over 200 party workers were also nominated in the FIR.
The opposition parties, while strongly reacting to the registration of FIR against their MPAs, had announced on Sunday night that they themselves would offer arrest in the police station.
On Monday, the legislators and leaders of the opposition parties gathered at the main roundabout in front of the Balochistan Assembly. They wanted to go to the MPA Hostel, but the administration blocked the roads leading to the assembly and the hostel by parking heavy trucks and trailers and deploying a heavy contingent of security forces, including police and Frontier Corps.
Later, the opposition MPAs nominated in the FIR went to the police station in a procession along with party leaders and workers and offered their arrest. But Senior police officers present there told the opposition PMAs that police could not arrest them without investigation.
“Only on the basis of FIR arrests could not be made. It needs proper investigation and proof of allegations levelled in the FIR against the legislators,” a police officer told the opposition members.
However, 15 MPAs, including Leader of the Opposition in the Balochistan Assembly Malik Sikander Khan and female MPA Shakeela Dehwar of the BNP-Mengal, refused to leave the police station and insisted that police arrest them. “We are offering our arrest on moral grounds after registration of FIR against all of us,” MPA Akhtar Hussain Langove, who is also chairman of the Public Accounts Committee of the Balochistan Assembly, said, adding that they would not go back. He said the opposition had decided that none of the MPAs would approach any court for bail.
Fifteen of the 17 PMAs were present in the police station till late in the night. They are: Malik Sikander Khan, Syed Azizullah Agha, Maulana Noorullah, Asghar Ali Tareen, Mir Zabit Ali Reki, Haji Nawaz Kakar and Sham Lal, Malik Naseer Ahmad Shahwani, Sana Baloch, Ahmad Nawaz Baloch, Shakeela Naveed Dehwar, Mir Akbar Mengal, Babu Rahim Mengal, Mir Hammal Kalmati and Akhtar Hussain Langove.
Nasarullah Zerey of the PkMAP also come to the police station but later left for Muslim Bagh to attend burial of party’s ex-senator Usman Khan Kakar. Similarly, MPA Abdul Wahid Siddique of the JUI-F went to Karachi for operation of his arm which was injured when an armored vehicle broke the back gate of the Balochistan Assembly.
Earlier, talking to the media, JUI-F’s provincial emir and MNA Maulana Wasey, acting president of the BNP-Mengal Abdul Wali Kakar, opposition leader Malik Sikander and Sana Baloch lashed out at the government for deploying heavy contingent of police and said the administration had made the area an occupied territory.
“We came here just to record our protest. Nobody can deprive us of our constitutional right. The rulers filed a case accusing us of being thugs and terrorists, after which we have decided to offer arrest. If the government is stopping the arrests, it means that the FIR is wrong,” they added.
They said the boycott of the assembly session would continue.
Published in Dawn, June 22nd, 2021