PESHAWAR: With its prominent leaders still in hiding, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police arrested over 1,720 Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) workers across the province allegedly involved in violent protests on May 9 and 10, a senior police official told Dawn.

The figure, according to a senior KP police official, is likely to go up to 3,000 since raids were being carried out in order to arrested all those nominated in FIRs. He added that some of the protesters were arrested after having been charged under different sections of the law, whereas many others were arrested under Section 3 of the Maintained of Public Order.

“The leadership including former members of the national and provincial assemblies is still in hiding and is using VPN or Wi-Fi for contacting the party members and families,” the official said.

On May 12, besides arresting people under 3 MPO, police in the provincial capital nominated 29 PTI former members of the National and KP assemblies on murder, attempted murder and terrorism charges.

An FIR registered at Khan Raziq Shaheed police station read that 29 MNAs and MPAs including Kamran Bangash, Taimur Saleem Jhagra, Arbab Sher Ali, Arif Yusuf, Ishtiaq Urmar, Arbab Jahandad, Fazal Ilahi and Malik Wajid were charged under Sections 302, 324 of Pakistan Penal Code and 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act.

In another FIR registered at Chamkani police station, PTI’s former members of the national and provincial assemblies including Ishtiaq Urmar, Arbab Jahandad, Fazal Ilahi, Asif and Malik Wajid besides 19 other members from the PTI local leadership were nominated for being allegedly involved in blocking roads and damaging public property.

Meanwhile, our correspondent in Malakand reported that at least 20 accused were arrested for their involvement in burning the Swat Motorway toll plaza on May 9.

The motorway authorities have registered a case against at least 80 accused, including former provincial minister Shakeel Khan, former MNA Junaid Akbar, former MPA Hamayun Khan, Batkhela tehsil chairman Nasir Khan and Baizai tehsil chairman Afzal Hussain.

Published in Dawn, May 19th, 2023

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