PTI Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry said on Friday that Azhar Mashwani, who the party alleged was “abducted” in Lahore a day earlier, had been shifted to Islamabad.
The PTI social media activist was picked up on Thursday, apparently on charges of criticising the Punjab police and the caretaker government for allegedly using high-handed tactics against party workers.
The arrest had prompted PTI chief Imran Khan to say, “enough is enough” as he accused authorities of abducting the party activist. Imran also said he was sending pictures of all officials involved in the crackdown on his workers to international human rights organisations so that they could “identify those working for the state and indulging in abductions, illegal break-ins into homes, custodial torture and violence against political leaders and unarmed workers of PTI”.
Speaking to Dawn.com today, Fawad said the party was tracing Mashwani’s location.
“We have been tracking Mashwani’s location,” the ex-information minister said. “He was at the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) office on Bedian Road. Then he was shifted to Islamabad”.
Fawad said the party had tried to get a first information report (FIR) registered against Mashwani’s alleged abduction but officials had refused to do so. “We tried registering it at the Green Town police station but they did not lodge a report.”
He added that the police were being “pressurised” to not register a FIR against the PTI activist’s “illegal abduction”.
Fawad also said that a habeas corpus petition had been filed in the Lahore High Court (LHC) seeking Mashwani’s recovery. He said that the registrar’s office had raised an objection but the case had been listed for hearing at the LHC Rawalpindi bench on Monday (March 27).
Mashwani’s wife pens letter to CJP
Separately, Mashwani’s wife Mahnoor wrote a letter to Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial, urging him “to take appropriate action against the abduction” of her husband. The PTI’s official Twitter account shared a copy of the letter.
The letter urged CJP Bandial to take suo motu notice of the incident for the “recovery and release” of Mashwani “from the illegal and unlawful custody of powerful people”.
The letter called on the top judge to intervene, citing how the country had been facing “severe human rights violations” since the incumbent government came into power.
It noted that Mashwani had been working as a focal person for the PTI chief.
“Due to this responsibility, people in the incumbent federal and provincial government do not seem to be very pleased,” the letter stated.
The letter highlighted that Mashwani left home for Zaman Park around 2:45pm on Thursday “but neither he reached there, nor came back home”. It added that a thorough search was carried out by the family, close friends and party workers to no avail.
Mashwani’s wife said she believed her husband was “abducted and being detained illegally and unlawfully by the Punjab police in connivance with the FIA and other law enforcement agencies at the behest of some powerful people with the intention to harm him and the entire family”.