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”.