• Five-member committee to probe ‘fake’ cases against party leaders in Punjab, point out police and admin officers who committed ‘criminal’ offences against them
• Fawad Chaudhry demands arrest of Asif Ali Zardari, Rana Sanaullah and Attaullah Tarar over ‘horse trading’

ISLAMABAD: Confident that the party will rule Punjab after the July 22 election for the chief minister, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Wednesday constituted a committee to identify police and administrative officers who it claims committed “criminal” offences against its leaders and workers, to initiate legal proceedings against them once the party takes over the reins of the province.

The five-member committee, headed by senior leader Shafqat Mehmood, will identify officers responsible for allegedly torturing PTI workers on May 25 and lodging cases against them and the leadership during the party’s long march on Islamabad that it suddenly wrapped up before reaching its destination. Other members of the committee are Aamir Mehmood Kiani, Dr Yasmin Rashid, Aon Abbas Buppi and Raja Basharat.

PTI central secretary general Asad Umar issued a notification for the anti-victimisation and accountability committee — formed as per a decision of the PTI core committee — which was tasked with investigating “fake” cases registered against party leaders in Punjab and working towards countering them.

The committee would also identify the officers who committed “criminal” offences against the PTI leaders and workers in order to initiate legal proceedings against them.

Asad Umar, in a post on social media and a press statement, asserted the PTI had not forgotten the incidents of May 25. “We have not forgotten, and will not let anyone else forget,” he added.

He said those responsible for the “torture and harassment” of PTI workers and leaders would be dealt with as per the law, adding they had filed a contempt petition with the Supreme Court against Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and the Punjab government.

The former minister claimed the blatant attempts to “interfere” in the CM’s election process, use of police and Special Branch and open threats by the interior minister were a clear contempt of the SC’s July 1 verdict.

Fawad demands arrest of Zardari, Rana, Tarar

PTI senior vice president Fawad Chaudhry on Wednesday lashed out at PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari for resorting to the “dirty practice” of horse trading, and called for the arrest of the former president, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and Punjab minister Attaullah Tarar for allegedly offering Rs400 million to the opposition party’s MPAs to buy their votes.

Addressing a press conference on Wednesday along with senior PTI leaders Aamir Kiani, Usman Dar and Zulfi Bukhari, Mr Chaudhry said horse-trading had started ahead of the Punjab chief minister’s election on Friday, which was a bad omen for democracy.

He claimed the loyalty of their MPAs was being bought for over Rs400m each.

He said though the PTI had the support of 188 lawmakers in the Punjab Assembly, the count could reach 190 as the court had ordered a recount of votes in Rawalpindi and Muzaffargarh constituencies.

He added the PTI and PML-Q were confident their candidate, Chaudhry Parvez Elahi, would become the CM comfortably.

The former minister apprehended that Mr Zardari had flown PTI MPA Masood Majeed to Turkiye after paying the lawmaker Rs400m, alleging the former president was using the Sindh government’s resources for horse-trading, but the Election Commission was doing nothing about it.

He went on to claim that Atta Tarar was also attempting to buy loyalties of PTI MPAs and had offered them Rs250 to Rs300m each. Rana Sanaullah had also hinted at creating hurdles in the PTI’s way to form the Punjab government, he added.

“We are moving the Supreme Court, which is the only institution to ensure transparency,” Mr Chaudhry said, adding he would submit a petition in the court on Thursday (today), demanding Zardari, Tarar and Rana Sana be arrested and the apex court conduct an immediate inquiry into the matter.

Fawad claimed the rate to buy a lawmaker’s loyalty had increased from Rs350m to Rs450m after PML-Q president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain announced his support for Parvez Elahi, adding the PTI MPAs who had been offered money had instantly informed the parliamentary party.

Published in Dawn, July 21st, 2022

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