PTI’s Jail Bharo Tehreek loses steam

The PTI’s Jail Bharo Tehreek (voluntarily presenting themselves for arrest) on Thursday appeared to be losing its steam as not a single leader or activist in Peshawar, the provincial capital of the party’s power hub Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, was rounded up in the city

PTI activists, led by their leaders, reached Central Prison Peshawar and stayed there till the evening but no one was arrested

Around 11 am, PTI activists in Peshawar started reaching Gulbahar and gathered on GT Road

PTI Provincial President Pervez  Khattak, former governor Shah Farman, Taimur Jhagra, Kamran Bangash, Asad Qaisar and other leaders also joined them

The crowd then marched towards the Central Prison Peshawar and tried to enter the building but were stopped by police

The police had parked a van outside the prison where the party activists and others gathered but they soon left the vehicle

Khattak and other leaders talked to the police officials and presented themselves for arrest

However, the police refused to arrest anyone

In the evening amid the slogans of the PTI supporters, the sit-in staged by the party activists came to an end as the leaders announced that the police were reluctant to arrest them

They announced that PTI chairman Imran Khan had ordered them to end  the protest and sit-in

They added that it had been decided that all PTI leaders and activists in K-P would go to Rawalpindi for the campaign on Friday (today)

Separately, PTI lawmakers approached the Lahore High Court, seeking the release of the party’s top leaders, who had voluntarily offered their arrests as part of the party’s campaign on the call of Imran

Petitioners Senator Ejaz Chaudhary, Syeda Nuria Humaira Rafique (wife of PTI leader Waleed Iqbal) and others filed different petitions for the release of party vice chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi, secretary general Asad Umar, Umar Sarfraz Cheema, Azam Swati, Waleed Iqbal and Murad Raas among several others rounded up a day earlier in Lahore when the campaign kicked off

The petitioners argued that neither had the due process been adopted in arresting the party leaders, nor were they presented before any court of law

They informed the court that the party had started the movement on Wednesday for the supremacy of the Constitution wherein “thousands of workers and supporters of the PTI offered their voluntary arrests from different points”

The petitioners continued that the respondents, the IG prisons and Lahore police chief, on the directives of another respondent, the additional chief home secretary, arrested the PTI leaders at Lahore’s Mall Road and took them to the Camp Jail first

The petitioners added that the PTI leaders were then transported to the city’s Kot Lakhpat jail

They maintained that the party leaders "were not provided with food and necessary medicine"

Ejaz Chaudhary in his petition contended that the lives of the PTI leaders were at stake at the hands of the respondents

The petitioners argued that if the PTI leaders were not released from the “illegal and unlawful detention, they could suffer an irreparable loss and injury”

The petitioners claimed that the respondents might book the PTI leaders in “false and frivolous cases in order to cause them maximum harm”

They requested the court to order the release of the PTI leaders “from the illegal and unlawful custody of the respondents”, adding that a direction “may kindly be issued to the respondents to refrain from doing any illegal act against the life and liberty of the detainees”

In a related development, the PTI claimed that the party’s leaders were being transported to an undisclosed location from Kot Lakhpat jail

A video posted on PTI’s official Twitter account showed a car following a prison van that was allegedly carrying the party’s vice president, secretary general, Swati and Niazi

“PTI workers who voluntarily presented themselves for arrest yesterday in Lahore are being transported from Kot Lakhpat jail by the police to an undisclosed location,” claimed the former ruling party

It added that they had crossed Lahore’s Thoker Niaz Baig and were driving on Multan Road

Sources informed The Express Tribune that PTI leaders and activists were being transferred to Bahawalpur, Bahawalnagar, Rahim Yar Khan, Leh, and Mianwali jails

They added their detention could be extended after the completion of a month

A total of 24 PTI leaders and activists were shifted to Leh, Qureshi to Attock, Swati to Rahim Yar Khan, Raas to Dera Ghazi Khan, Iqbal to Layyah, Cheema to Bhakkar, Madni to Bahawalpur, and Umar to Rajanpur

PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry, while speaking to the legal fraternity at an event, said around 700 people were arrested but the provincial government had no place to keep them

A total of 81 of them are at Kot Lakhpat jail

While others are either being kept at police stations or have been released

Former National Assembly speaker Asad Qaiser maintained that the fundamental aim of the campaign was that the PTI  wanted to run the country according to the Constitution

“We want to rule the country according to the Constitution

The country can only be stable when it is governed according to the Constitution and law,” he added

Qaiser lauded the Supreme Court’s suo motu notice of the delay in holding polls in Punjab and K-P

The former NA speaker hoped that the apex court would play its “fundamental” role

He added that the party would protest whenever anyone tried to violate the Constitution or law

Addressing PTI leaders and activists via video link from his residence in Lahore, party chairman and deposed premier Imran reiterated that efforts were still under way to remove him from politics

Imran claimed that the PTI's ‘court arrest campaign' was unprecedented in the history of the country as party  leaders and activists were voluntarily offering to be rounded up

“The country has hardly witnessed so many arrests [of party activists] along with their leaders,” he added

The PTI chairman recalled that party leaders Swati and Shahbaz Gill were tortured and pressured to give statements against him

He claimed that he had not witnessed such “fascism” even during the dictatorship of former military ruler, the late Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf

He lashed out at the current rulers for lodging a terrorism case against him and his party leaders

Imran also took a dig at the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP)

"The ECP keeps on giving its rulings against the PTI as it has joined hands with the PDM [Pakistan Democratic Movement]

The electoral watchdog is hard at work campaigning for the PDM's political interests,” he alleged

Berating the coalition government, the PTI chief maintained that everyone was aware that the current rulers were resorting to “wicked tactics”

He lambasted Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, saying the latter was preparing the nation for more inflation

Recalling his ouster, Imran reiterated that PM Shehbaz and PPP Co-Chairperson Asif Ali Zardari had toppled the PTI government by joining hands with foreign powers

He claimed that PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and ex-army chief Gen (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa were involved in the conspiracy to oust his government as well

Comparing his tenure with the current regime, he said the country was presently witnessing inflation three times greater than that during the PTI’s time in power

Date:27-Feb-2023 Reference:View Original Link