Massive crackdown against PTI protesters launched

Mohsin vows to end no-go areas around Zaman Park

Punjab IGP says over 2,135 PTI protesters arrested after identification n 14 persons identified for attacking GHQ n Scores of illegal Afghan nationals amongst arrested accused n Party leaders including Mian Mehmood, Firdous Shamim Naqvi, Hammad Azhar's secretary Faisal Mehr detained n Party’s main leaders are already under arrest for involvement in violent protests n Punjab CM says rioters incurred Rs6b loss to public properties.

LAHORE/ISLAMABAD    -   A massive crackdown against PTI leaders, workers and sup­porters was launched across the country yesterday as a large number of the party’s protest­ers including dozens of leaders were arrested and cases were filed against them for resort­ing to violent protests, torching public as well as private proper­ties and vehicles especially La­hore Corp Commander’s house.

According to fresh reports, PTI’s senior leaders includ­ing Mehmood ur Rashid, Sen­ator Saifullah Niazi and Ham­mad Azhar's secretary Faisal Mehr were arrested during po­lice raids in addition to arrest of hundreds of party workers and supports. Senator Saif Ul­lah Khan Niazi is considered a close aide of former premier Im­ran Khan. The PTI leader was arrested under 16 MPO and was moved to an undisclosed loca­tion by the police.

The crackdown has been launched a day after Prime Min­ister Shehbaz Sharif took no­tice of the PTI’s violent pro­tests across the country against the arrest of their party chair­man Imran Khan from the court premises in the Al-Qadir Trust corruption case by Rangers. 

PTI’s senior leader Mian Mehmood-ul-Rashid was arrest­ed by CIA Iqbal Town from De­fence Lahore. PTI leader Ham­mad Azhar's secretary Faisal Mehr was also arrested from Sa­bzazar during a raid in the wee hours of Sunday.

The police also took PTI leader Firdous Shamim Naqvi into cus­tody in Karachi. The leader was detained while leading a rally from the Pehlwan Goth area.

Police said that several cas­es have been filed against Naqvi in various police stations after the recent anti-government pro­tests. In addition, police said a number women who were pro­testing near the Justice House in Nursery have also been taken into custody. Earlier on Sunday, the Punjab Police reached the Services Hospital to arrest PTI central leader Yasmin Rashid to produce her before the court, but due to her deteriorating health, the medical board did not allow the police to take her along with them. Yasmin Rashid is undergoing a treatment at the Services Hospital, and the hos­pital’s medical board said the PTI leader was having trouble in breathing, and doctors have recommended 2 CT scans. Yas­min Rashid is wanted by the La­hore police in three cases in­cluding terrorism and other serious charges. Meanwhile, the demonstrators, who attacked the headquarters of Pakistan Army (GHQ) in Rawalpindi, have been identified and their photographs have been made public. According to credible sources, 14 people, including four women, were involved in the violent protests at the GHQ on May 9. Nine of the attack­ers are the residents of Rawal­pindi, three are from Islamabad, one from Karachi and one from Chakwal, the source informed The Nation. The sources further said that the process of identi­fication of more than 300 peo­ple were involved in the violent protests has been completed and legal proceedings are being initiated. Now those who have been identified would be arrest­ed soon by the police with the help of technology and NADRA record. The Islamabad Capital Police has already arrested PTI leaders including Senator Ejaz Chaudhry, Asad Umar, Fawad Chaudhry, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Maalika Bukhari, Qa­sim Suri, Musarat Jamshed Cheema, her husband Jamsheed Cheema under 16 MPO and sent them to Adiala Jail.

On the other hand, the investi­gators of Islamabad police have reportedly arrested scores of Afghan nationals for their al­leged involvement in firing on police contingent, arson, riot­ing, blocking roads, damaging government and public proper­ties during protest demonstra­tions by PTI to press the gov­ernment to release Imran Khan.

Meanwhile, City Police Officer (CPO) Rawalpindi Syed Khalid Mehmood Hamdani disclosed the names of all the PTI leaders and lawmakers will be placed on the Exit Control List (ECL) for their alleged involvement in violent protests. “A letter in this regard has also been written to Punjab Home Department by the top command of Rawalpin­di police requesting it to move an application to Federal Interi­or Ministry to put the names of all the accused MNAs, MPAs and other leaders of PTI on the ECL in order to foil their attempt to flee the country to avoid arrests for their alleged involvement in terrorism cases,” the police offi­cial said. He disclosed that the police have arrested as many as 200 PTI workers and supporters during various raids for their al­leged involvement in rioting, ar­son, damaging government and public properties during vio­lent protests against arrest of the PTI chief. Police registered a total of 17 FIRs against the accused in the police stations, he said. The sources said that the police have detained these Afghan miscreants and being identifies from CCTV footage, TikTok videos and other vid­eos that went viral on social me­dia. A senior police officer told the media that the most worry­ing and pathetic thing is that the detained Afghan nationals nei­ther have any valid residential documents in Pakistan nor NA­DRA has their record. The po­lice are facing troubles in filing cases against these accused, he said, adding that a mob of Af­ghan nationals could also be seen in a video attacking a cop of Islamabad police who hardly saved his life by escaping from the scene leaving his motorcy­cle behind.He said that Islam­abad police have also tasked the SSP Counter Terrorism Depart­ment to arrest the rest of Afghan nationals involved in attack­ing police and damaging pub­lic property in the federal cap­ital. Following the orders of IG Islamabad, a team of CTD car­ried out a raid on the residence of Khan Bahadur in D-17, the limits of Police Station Tarnool, the sources said. However, the accused wanted by CTD was not present at home and his son Us­man and three other men were taken into custody.

Meanwhile, Punjab Caretak­er Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi, while talking to media in La­hore yesterday, disclosed that a whopping Rs 6 billion loss was incurred to the public proper­ties as a result of horrible ter­rorist incidents that took place on May 9 in various cities of Punjab including Lahore.“Ac­cording to the latest estimates, the losses are far exceeding Rs 6 billion, and further damage es­timates are being done”, he said while showing videos of miscre­ants’ attacks ransacking pub­lic and private buildings along with installations. 

On the occasion, Punjab In­spector General of Police ap­prised that 2135 persons after their identifications had been arrested across Punjab. IG Po­lice and ACS (Home) gave a de­tailed briefing about the inci­dents of terrorism. Provincial Information Minister Amir Mir, Chief Secretary and Secretary Information were also present on the occasion. The chief min­ister maintained that all inci­dents including putting aflame the state buildings, loot and plunder and ransacking of pub­lic property took place accord­ing to an organized plan. 

“As many as 23 buildings were torched in Punjab. Gov­ernment and private properties along with police vehicles were destroyed. About 108 vehi­cles of police and other institu­tions were burnt. Jinnah House (Corps Commander House), banks, ambulances were also set ablaze. Ammunition hold­ers were gathered in Mianwali”, he said. Mohsin Naqvi apprised that solid proves were available that a nefarious planning had been made to burn aeroplanes on the PAF Base Mianwali in which they failed. Terrorism was inflicted under the garb of politics, he added. 

He explained that after break­ing the cameras of safe city, hard disks were taken out from the cabin and it was burnt. “An at­tack on CSD was undertaken ac­cording to planning and all the belongings were looted. Corps Commander House, Askari Banks and Askari Tower were attacked. Ambulances, fire bri­gades, WASA vehicles and troll­ers were burnt. Many ATMs, Na­tional Bank, Punjab Bank and two metro stations in Rawalpin­di were burnt”, he said, adding that the construction and repair will cost approximately one bil­lion rupees alone for this loss. 

“Single cabin vehicles of police, prisoners van, motorcycles and buses were burnt. The Judicial Complex, army and police check posts and GPO were also burnt. One group of miscreants burnt Askari Tower outside the Corps Commander House”. “We will take such terrorist cases to their logical conclusion. No innocent person will be apprehended and no one responsible for terror­ism will go scot free. Come what may I would not sit with comfort until the arrest of each person responsible for terrorism. We would take every miscreant in­volved in these incidents to their logical end”, he affirmed. The chief minister said that Ministry of Defence was doing rehabili­tation work of the Jinnah House and soon it will be restored to its original condition.

“No leniency will be shown to anyone. In the light of sol­id proofs we have gone close to the plotters of such terror­ism incidents,” he said. He said that Dr. Yasmeem Rashid of the PTI was the central character of this case, and it was necessary to take this case to its logical end. “The military buildings and in­stallations which were attacked had been targets of the Taliban. Military properties were at­tacked and these were targets of BLA”. He disclosed that videos and pictures of every miscreant were available, and the govern­ment was ensuring that no inno­cent person is arrested, he said. “We would ensure early trial of all cases and if needed we would increase the number of Anti-Ter­rorism Courts. We want to pro­tect the masses but do not afford loss of human lives”.

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