PESHAWAR: Officials of Peshawar’s Central Prison on Friday sought police action against the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf workers for allegedly crossing the jail fence following the culmination of the former ruling party’s “Jail Bharo Tehreek”in the provincial capital without arrests.
According to prison officials, strict security measures are in place around the premises as some high-profile militants and criminals are kept there, but some PTI workers went close to its barriers on Thursday despite prohibition.
They told Dawn that the people’s access to the prison and surrounding area without permission wasn’t allowed but the PTI workers violated the restriction that could have caused a serious law and order situation.
The officials said video recordings were available about the “intrusion” and that some pictures of the “culprits” were shared with the police for action.
Also, the office of the superintendent of the Peshawar Central Prison wrote a letter to the head of the East Cantt police station, saying the PTI workers staged a protest in front of the jail’s Gate I “disturbing” the administration for hours.
Peshawar jail officials report ‘intruders’ to police
It added that some protesters even crossed the roadside jail fence and incited other PTI workers to follow suit.
The superintendent insisted that the jail was a highly sensitive security installation, so the intrusion by PTI workers could have led to untoward incidents as hundreds of militants and criminals were kept there.
“You are very kindly requested that legal action may be taken against the intruders (nine in number whose pictures are enclosed) and patrolling may be increased to avoid any untoward incident,” he told the police station’s head in the letter.
When contacted, officials of the police station confirmed the communication but said the police hadn’t registered any case yet.
Moreover, the police department claimed in a report that 1,200- 1,250 PTI workers from nearby districts gathered on the Grand Trunk Road in Gulbahar area at around 12:00 hours on Thursday and shouted slogans before 400-500 of them gathered on the junction of Mufti Mehmood Flyover.
It added that appropriate security measures were in place with adequate deployment at suitable places to avoid any untoward incident during the ‘Jail Bharo Tehreek’.
“Personnel of the police were strategically deployed and prisoner vans remained present on the spot besides videos were recorded to obtain evidence in case of any mishap.
“None of the participants presented themselves for arrest despite announcements made on loudspeakers and the crowd dispersed peacefully at around 18:00 hours without any arrest being made,” it said.
However, PTI provincial information secretary Shaukat Yousafzai insisted that a large number of PTI workers and leaders gathered outside Peshawar jail but the police “avoided” their arrest.
“Thousands of PTI workers took to the roads and registered their protest peacefully,” he said.
Mr Yousafzai also criticised the caretaker government for “showing prejudice against PTI in the recent reshuffle of senior bureaucrats.”
He claimed that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif directly intervened in the postings and transfers of government officials.
“We have decided to challenge the frequent transfers of officers in the Peshawar High Court,” he said.
Our Correspondent from Lower Dir adds: Former PTI lawmakers from Lower Dir district along with party workers on Friday registered themselves with a camp outside the Timergara Press Club to court arrest.
The Insaf Youth Wing put up the camp, where ex-MNAs Syed Mahboob Shah and Malik Shafiullah Khan got themselves registered for the party’s Jail Bharo Tehreek.
Noted among others who followed suit were former PTI district president Ghulam Hussain, former general secretary Ali Shah Mishwani, Youth Wing district president Mian Sajjad and general secretary Rahat Farooqi, Timergara tehsil president Ijaz Khatir, general secretary Asif Iqbal, Malik Fawad and Kashif Kamal.
The PTI sources put the registration tally at over 1,000.
Mr Mahboob Shah and Mr Malik Shafiullah alleged that the Pakistan Democratic Movement government in the centre had ruined the country during the last eight months.
They said the country was set to default on payments due to the failure of the federal government’s financial team.
The PTI leaders said their party rendered its governments for the sake of the country.
They said the ‘court arrest’ movement was meant to eliminate the ‘corrupt’ Shehbaz Sharif administration.
The PTI leaders said more and more party workers were registering themselves to court arrest. They also flayed police raids on their houses and said they didn’t fear detention.
Published in Dawn, February 25th, 2023