On Wednesday, a district and sessions court in Islamabad granted the police a two-day physical remand of PTI leader Shahbaz Gill, a day after he was arrested on charges of sedition and inciting the public against the state institutions. According to reports, the remand was sought for the purpose of forensics and verification in relation to his controversial appearance on the. There is a need to determine if others from his party were involved in what was stated. The police have now been directed to produce Mr. Gill before the court on August 12.

While party officials and workers tried their best to spread misinformation around the arrest to make it appear as an “abduction”, the fact of the matter is that everything was captured on the CCTV footage. Mr. Gill was arrested by the Islamabad police in accordance with the law on charges of sedition and inciting the public against state institutions; authorities have a right to arrest following the registration of an FIR and no one is deserving of special treatment. Furthermore, as the CCTV footage also shows, there was no physical violence involved whatsoever against Mr. Gill or his driver, and the car window was only broken after they continued to resist the arrest. PTI’s pretence of unjust action does not hold water.

As far as the seditious statements are concerned, it appears that the motive was to fan the flames of division. This is unacceptable and is something that other parties have been guilty of in the past as well. Political actors would be better served if they focus on politics without dragging state institutions into their squabbles and threatening national unity and interest. There is nothing wrong with criticism per se, but making statements with the intention of triggering disunity and unrest is extremely problematic.

Similarly, Mr Moonis Elahi’s statement that the Punjab police will be sent to Islamabad in order to guard party officials is simply unacceptable. This is illegal and we cannot have the police of another province in the capital, that too as a personal security force. The police is not a political outfit’s personal security force. The insinuation in this case is quite concerning and ridiculous as well. But it is part of a larger trend where party officials, in particular PTI since it’s ouster from power, manufacture a narrative of conspiracies and perceived victimisation. This has been witnessed in the case of the ECP, the judiciary, the armed forces, and now the capital police as well. These harmful propaganda tactics must come to an end across the political spectrum.