LAHORE: In response to a clash between workers of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) outside the Election Commission of Pakistan’s office in Multan, the police have arrested PML-N leader Tariq Rasheed and former PTI lawmaker Aamir Dogar along with their supporters.
The brawl outside the regional office of the election watchdog ensued during the submission of nomination papers for NA-155 and NA-156 constituencies, which had fallen vacant after the de-seating of the PTI lawmakers.
Tariq Rasheed and Aamir Dogar — both former lawmakers — had come to the commission’s office to submit their nomination papers for the NA seats. As their supporters gathered outside the ECP office, sloganeering started which was followed by a scuffle. The clash saw liberal use of fists, kicks, and stones. At least seven people received injuries. Their condition was said to be normal after they were moved to a hospital for first aid.
After the “attack” on the ECP office, the provincial election commissioner asked City Police Officer Rana Mansoor to take action against PML-N and PTI workers. The election commissioner also directed the CPO to increase the security of the returning officer’s office in Multan.
Fawad says Dogar’s detention has kicked off ‘court arrest’ movement
In consequent raids, the police raided the camp office of Mr Dogar and took him into custody along with a number of supporters.
The police also arrested PML-N leader Tariq Rasheed and his supporters. The police had also arrested Senator Rana Mehmoodul Hassan, but he was later released.
Multan police spokesperson Fayyaz Hussain told Dawn that the arrests were carried out on the complaint of ECP. He said there were no major injuries during the scuffle and all of the injured
were in stable condition. The spokesperson said at least two dozen PTI workers and about a dozen workers of the PML-N, including Tariq Rasheed and local leader Anwar Ali, were taken into custody.
About the arrest, Senator Hassan said the clash was started by workers of both parties and the leaders had nothing to do with it.
‘Court arrest’ movement kicks off
The arrest of PTI workers prompted a strong reaction from the former ruling party which termed these detentions a result of the “growing fascism” of the incumbent regime. In a series of tweets, the PTI chairman said: “Strongly condemn the repeated police raids on Parvez Elahi’s home in Gujrat as well as arbitrary arrests and abductions of his supporters and those who worked with him.” The former premier called the actions of the government and its alleged handlers “naked fascism”.
“Just to remind, arrests of and actions against Sharifs and others during our government were a result of NAB cases with over 95% filed before we were voted into power and of the international Panama revelations,” he said, adding that PTI rivals were “given VIP treatment”. “But what they wanted was NRO which we refused,” Mr Khan claimed.
“In contrast, they are using all manner of harassment, arrests, custodial torture, and abductions purely for political victimisation,” Imran Khan claimed, adding, “They know they cannot win any elections, so are trying to beat us down through the use of brutal state power. It would not work. Our resolve only gets stronger.”
PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said with the arrest of Aamir Dogar, the ‘court arrest’ movement of the former ruling party has kicked off.
Published in Dawn, February 9th, 2023
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