PTI’s Sher Afzal Marwat ‘abducted’ outside LHC: party

Published December 14, 2023
PTI’s Sher Afzal Marwat arrested outside LHC on Thursday. — screengrab
PTI’s Sher Afzal Marwat arrested outside LHC on Thursday. — screengrab

PTI Senior Vice President (SVP) Sher Afzal Marwat was detained outside the Lahore High Court (LHC) by uniformed personnel, the party said on its X (formerly Twitter) social media account.

Dawn.com’s correspondent at the court saw Marwat being detained by police personnel.

Footage of Marwat’s arrest shared by the PTI on X showed policemen dragging him by the collar as several lawyers tried to stop them.

The PTI described the “abduction” as “absolutely shameful” and said it represented “the respect for courts in the eyes of those in power”. The party also urged LHC judges to ensure Marwat’s safe recovery.

In a separate statement, it said Marwat’s arrest was a “manifestation of the prevailing lawlessness in the country and the fear and cowardice of the people in power”.

“The aim of these unconstitutional and illegal tactics is to escape from the elections and impose on the public those who were brought under the ‘London plan’,” the PTI alleged, adding that the “continued silence of the judiciary” was encouraging such illegal actions.

PTI Chairman Gohar Khan, while speaking to media persons outside the Election Commission of Pakistan in Islamabad, also condemned Marwat’s arrest. He said such actions against the party would affect free and fair elections in the country.

PTI Secretary General Omar Ayub Khan said Marwat was apprehended by Punjab police when he was enroute to address lawyers in Lahore.

“These tactics show the absolute moral bankruptcy of the illegal caretaker corrupt chief minister Mohsin Naqvi and a spineless Punjab Inspector General of Police Dr Usman Anwar.

“The Constitution of Pakistan has been rendered useless and is in effect held in abeyance by the actions of the caretaker federal government. Parliamentary democracy does not exist in Pakistan at this moment in time. Anarchy rules in Pakistan,” he said.

PTI’s Ali Muhammad Khan condemned Marwat’s “uncalled for arrest” and demanded he be immediately released.

“The date of election is already announced. There should be equal opportunity for all to do political activities,” he said.

Condemning the arrest, PTI’s Taimur Jhagra asked, “What exactly is going on???”

It is not immediately clear what Marwat was arrested for, though it was reported that he was detained under the Maintenance of Public Order ordinance.

Section 3 of the MPO states: “Government, if satisfied that with a view to preventing any person from acting in any manner prejudicial to public safety or the maintenance of public order, may by an order in writing direct his arrest and detention… .”

Marwat was appointed as the PTI SVP last month. He was a member of the PTI for a long time, but he came to the limelight only after the par­ty found itself in crisis following the events of May 9, which for­c­­ed its key leadership to ei­­ther to part ways with Imran Khan, or go underground to avo­id the heat. This provided an opportunity for lower-tier leaders of the party to rise within the ranks and take up key positions.

Marwat also became close to Imran after representing the PTI chief in most of the cases against him.

Marwat represented the PTI chief in the Toshakhana case, where the court convicted the former premier for three years. His proximity to the PTI founder only grew when he launched a tirade against trial court judge Humayun Dilawar during the proceedings of the Toshakhana trial, and he was subsequently inducted into the PTI core committee.

Last week, Marwat had accused the police of attempting to “abduct” him near the Gulabad area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Lower Dir district.

Subsequently, the Peshawar High Court had ordered the KP government not to arrest Marwat until further orders in four cases recently registered against him after he attended his party’s conventions in the province.

In October, a case was registered against Marwat in Dera Ismail Khan, on allegations of instigating the public against state institutions through social media. The case revolved around a video Marwat posted to his YouTube channel, where he purportedly tried to incite the public against state institutions to create chaos.

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