Islamabad police said on Thursday morning that several PTI leaders, including Shah Mahmood Qureshi, had been arrested for “inciting violent protests” following party chairman Imran Khan’s arrest in the Al-Qadir Trust case.
The police statement comes a day after PTI Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry and Secretary General Asad Umar were also taken into custody in Islamabad.
The PTI also shared a video of Qureshi’s arrest, which took place during the early hours of Thursday. The party claimed that the ex-foreign minister had been taken to an undisclosed location.
Subsequently, Islamabad police issued a statement which said that Qureshi, Umar, Chaudhry, Jamshed Iqbal Cheema, Falaknaz Chitrali, Musarrat Jamshed Cheema and Maleeka Bokhari had been arrested so far.
“Arrests had been made for inciting arson and violent protests under a well-thought out plan for threatening peace,” police said.
It added that all arrests were made after fulfilling the legal requirements and warned that further arrests were also expected. It also asked people to “not spread rumours and incitement amongst the public”.
Qureshi asks party workers to continue ‘peaceful’ struggle
Meanwhile, the PTI released a video message by Qureshi recorded prior to his arrest, in which he stated that party workers must remain “peaceful” and continue the movement until Imran was released.
He maintained that he had not committed any wrongdoing and had not engaged in any violent activities.
According to him, all the charges filed against him were baseless and driven by malicious intent. He said more than 50 lives had been lost during protests and emphasised that they were unarmed. At the same time, he said that big causes required significant sacrifices.
Qureshi urged all party workers to remain steadfast and peaceful. He also refuted allegations that the attack on the Corps Commander House in Lahore was carried out at his and Imran’s behest, stating that they had not been involved.
Separately, the Punjab police issued a statement earlier in the day, stating that it had arrested over 1,650 “miscreants” responsible for attacking public and private properties across the province.
All suspects involved in violent activities are being traced and arrested, the Punjab inspector general said in the statement. “Such miscreants deserve no mercy,” he added.