PTI Senator Azam Swati filed a police complaint on Monday, seeking the registration of a first information report (FIR) against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, Inspector General of Police Islamabad Dr Akbar Nasir and others over "police brutality and unreasonable use of force" against PTI supporters during the Azadi March last week.
The complaint, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, was filed in the capital's Secretariat police station and also named DIG operations Sohail Zafar Chattha and Rangers operations head.
PTI's Azadi March on May 25 was preceded by the authorities invoking Section 144 — a measure used to curb gatherings. Shipping containers were put in place on major thoroughfares to block their path.
Undeterred by the moves, the marchers, who tried to force through the containers to make their way to Islamabad. As a counter measure, the police fired tear-gas shells at and baton-charged the protestors to disperse them.
In the complaint filed today, Swati said that "multiple waves of police brutality and unreasonable use of police force was applied in different parts of the country, including D-Chowk Islamabad, with one objective to seriously impede the fundamental rights of protesters." He noted that the right to protest was protected under the Constitution of Pakistan.
The senator said his arm and other body parts were injured during the march because of the "illegal baton charge conducted by Rangers [officials]" deputed at D-Chowk and the "attack of CS gas (2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile, a common type of tear gas) by Islamabad police that continued for 12 hours".
Swati, who is 74 years old, added that he had suffered "serious breathing issues and pain from extreme exposure to CS gas" because of the shelling and was taken to the Polyclinic Hospital.
In addition, his vehicles were "severely damaged" because of continuous firing of rubber bullets, shelling and stone-pelting by Islamabad police, he alleged.
The senator said he was enclosing his medical report, pictures and videos along with his complaint.
"Police violence such as the type used on May 25 is illegitimate use of authority bestowed in the security forces. Politicians in power such as the names referenced above are notorious for always trying to control and run public officers and civil servants as per their own interests and for the fulfilment of personal or their political party interests," he added.
A day ago, PTI Chairman Imran Khan shared on Twitter a video montage of alleged police brutality on his workers and supporter and termed it "condemnable and unacceptable".
"[By] flouting the Constitution and Supreme Court orders, this criminal imported government unleashed police brutality on our peaceful Azadi March protesters," he said.
The PTI chairman had earlier said his party will be moving the Supreme Court on Monday (today) to seek protection for their right to a peaceful protest. He also announced petitioning high courts to seek registration of cases against those responsible for using force against his party workers during their march on the capital.
Meanwhile, relevant officials from police and the capital administration have been called to a committee room of the Parliament House on May 31 (tomorrow) to discuss with them the use of force by law enforcement agencies against PTI marchers.
They have been called by members of the Senate Standing Committee on Interior, chaired by Senator Mohsin Aziz. Those who have been called include home secretary Punjab, IGP Islamabad, deputy inspector general operations (Lahore) and DIG operations, Islamabad. Members of the committee had taken notice of the use of force against PTI marchers and blockade of roads in Islamabad and Punjab.