The PPP on Thursday said the government was planning to attack Sindh House in Islamabad after the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) claimed some of its lawmakers were staying hidden in the building at the opposition's behest.
The government claimed the opposition had detained some ruling party lawmakers at Sindh House ahead of the vote on the no-confidence resolution against Prime Minister Imran Khan after a statement by Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Parvez Elahi that around a dozen MNAs belonging to the PTI had ‘gone missing’.
The premier had said in a public address on Wednesday that opposition leaders were sitting in Sindh House with “heaps of money” to purchase loyalties of treasury lawmakers and had asked the election commission to take action against the alleged horse-trading.
PPP MNAs — Abdul Qadir Patel, Abdul Qadir Mandokhel, Abid Hussain Bhayo, Javed Shah Jilani, Ehsan Mazari, Naveed Dero and Mehreen Bhutto — issued a joint statement in the early hours of Thursday alleging that "[Prime Minister] Imran Khan's government is [hell]bent on [carrying out] terrorism" and planning to attack Sindh House.
They claimed they had information suggesting the Islamabad police and PTI's Tiger Force were planning the "assault". The PPP parliamentarians said if there was any damage to Sindh House's facilities or to their members then the government would be responsible and it would amount to a violation of the law and the Constitution.
The PPP members said they had requested the Sindh government to provide them accommodation in Sindh House as they did not feel safe at the Parliament Lodges after an operation by the Islamabad police last week to disperse members of the Ansarul Islam, a uniformed volunteer force of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam, who had entered the lodges in large numbers.
The lawmakers said they had asked the Sindh police for protection as it was their legal and constitutional right since the Islamabad police had "illegally raided and endangered the lives of people".
However, in a brief talk with reporters on Thursday afternoon, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid said no action was being planned on the Sindh House. He was responding to a journalist's question on reports of an alleged government action.
"We are not taking any action against anyone right now. [The time] is far away," he said in reference to the day voting on the no-trust motion would take place.
"There are some people in Sindh House. They have called in 300-400 policemen. No problem. There are many days [left]," the interior minister said.
PPP leader Faisal Karim Kundi had earlier confirmed the stay of some lawmakers at Sindh House during a press conference with PPP MNA Shazia Marri. "Every member has a right to stay there. These members are from the opposition and our allies," he had said, adding that MNAs had been kept there as they feared they could be kidnapped ahead of the no-trust vote.
Marri had also refuted the prime minister’s “fake news” that PTI dissidents had been kept at the Sindh House during the press conference with Kundi.
Meanwhile, Maritime Affairs Minister Ali Zaidi questioned the grounds for the Sindh government assembling 400 police guards of the Special Security Unit (SSU) in Islamabad.
He wrote a letter to the establishment secretary demanding an investigation against SSU Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Maqsood Memon for his "glaring violation" in allowing the force to assemble in the federal capital. Zaidi said the DIG should be suspended until the inquiry was completed.
A day ago, Zaidi alleged the force was deployed at the Sindh House to protect the “bags” of money to be used to “bribe” the PTI MNAs.