SAHIWAL: The district police have registered cases against 25 nominated and 700 unidentified workers and local leaders of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), including party’s parliamentarians, ticket-holders and office-bearers of Okara, Pakpattan and Sahiwal chapters.

These workers have been accused of organising and participating in a ‘workers convention’ at Anjum Farms on Sunday afternoon, without getting permission for the event.

The convention was reportedly hosted by Chaudhry Asif Ali, a PTI ticket-holder from NA-142, at his farmhouse.

The Ghala Mandi police have booked the suspects under various sections, including section 16 of the Maintenance of Public Order, section 6 of the Punjab Sound Systems Regulation Act 2015, and sections 341, 186, 148, and 149 of the PPC, on a complaint by Sub-Inspector Zafer Iqbal, posted at the Bypass Police Check Post.

PTI MNA Rai Hasan Nawaz told Dawn that a day before the convention, the houses of the PTI parliamentarians and district office-bearers were raided by police in Pakpattan, Sahiwal, and Okara. He says the cases were a result of the successful PTI convention.

Chaudhry Asif and other local party leaders condemned the cases against peaceful participants of the convention held at a private place with a boundary wall and gate.

Sources say the police and administration had exerted pressure on the farmhouse owner and organisers to prevent him from holding the convention. However, the PTI workers and local leaders remained steadfast, despite facing police harassment, raids and violations of their basic rights, they say.

The sources say the police also attempted to bar workers from entering the city and attending the convention.

Those named in the FIRs include MNAs Rai Hasan Nawaz, Rai Murtaza Iqbal and Chaudhry Muhammad Usman, MPA retired Maj Sarwar, Chaudhry Asif, Rai Naseem Hashim (Pakpattan), Mian Sajad Nasir, Faisal Jalal Dhakko, Muhammad Yar Damra, Chaudhry Saleem Sadiq, Rana Amir Shahzad, Ali Raza Gilani (Okara), Naeem Ibrahim (Arifwala ex-MPA), Tariq Qaum Khagga, Waheed Asghar Dogar, Rana Aftab (ticket-holder/ex-MPA), Shakeel Khan Niazi, Riaz Arshad, Muhammad Chohan, Sardar Asad Khan Baloch and others.

The FIR alleges that some 700-750 participants in the convention were chanting slogans against the government and state institutions. So far no arrest has been made.

Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2024

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