ISLAMABAD: Alleging that the current situation was not even observed during martial laws in the country, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Wednesday urged the masses to come out of houses and snatch their rights from the government.

Speaking at a press conference, PTI’s senior vice president Fawad Chaudhry, accompanied by former human rights minister Shireen Mazari, said Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh and journalist Imran Riaz “were kidnapped”.

“Now Rangers also arrive, along with police, to arrest people. Earlier, Rangers used tear gas in Islamabad [on 25th May]. I would give message to the Rangers director general to explain why Rangers were there at the time of arrests,” he said.

He regretted Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s largest political party (PTI) was not invited to the National Security Committee’s meeting. “Party chairman Imran Khan is visiting the whole country, so I urge the masses to attend his public meetings.”

Mr Chaudhry said Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, instead of talking about the PTI, should care about her husband Ali Tareen who had been representing the tobacco industry and getting incentives worth billions of rupees meant for the industry. Ms Aurangzeb did lobby for her husband for the purpose, he alleged.

The PTI leader said the solar project should also be investigated as it was a Rs50 billion scheme and completed in 35 days.

Shireen Mazari said fascism was increasing in Pakistan after the regime change, adding that practically martial law had been imposed in the country and it should be announced officially.

She said the “puppets are in the government” and people had come to know who were the “unknown people”. It should be made clear who had “kidnapped” Haleem Adil Sheikh and Imran Riaz, she added.

The former minister said people were arrested for asking questions from Inter-Services Public Relations director general and heads of other institutions.

Ms Mazari said the Pakistan Peoples Party used to talk about human rights, but now it kept mum about what she called civilian martial law.

‘Brutal tactics’

During a protest outside the National Press Club, PTI’s central secretary general Asad Umar lashed out at the government for using brutal tactics against people and warned it against taking the country to a dangerous turn.

He said the voices being silenced were the voices of Pakistan, adding that whenever patriotic journalists were harassed, or their voices silenced, the PTI would stand by them. He said those who were being harassed never spoke against the integrity of Pakistan.

Mr Umar lamented that FIRs were being lodged against patriotic Pakistani journalists, but now the nation woke up and they could not be silenced through such tactics.

In a statement, PTI’s central information secretary Farrukh Habib said the “coteries and maids of the house of Sharifs” were given special task to spit the venom to pollute the political environment because the PML-N had a distinction in this regard.

Published in Dawn, July 7th, 2022

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