Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Police storm into Pakistan’s National Assembly, arrest key opposition figures

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Police in Islamabad stormed into Pakistan’s Parliament Lodges on Thursday night and arrested 19 persons including key opposition figures. The high-voltage scuffle occurred just ahead of the tabling of a no-confidence motion against the Imran Khan government by the opposition parties.

Police commandos and other law enforcement personnel were deployed in huge numbers at the spot, The News International reported. “We tried to convince them that they could not enter the lodges, but the police personnel remained adamant and entered by force,” PMLN leader Khawaja Saad Rafique who was injured in the scuffle was quoted as saying.

The action came after members of Ansarul Islam, a uniformed volunteer force set up to protect the leadership of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F), entered the Parliament Lodges in large numbers, reported Dawn. JUI leader and Member of the National Assembly (MNA) Salahuddin Ayubi refused to accept the police’s demand saying that the Ansarul activists were their guests and legally staying with them.

Shortly afterwards, clashes between Ayubi’s staff and police personnel erupted. Several Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) lawmakers were also present in the lodges at the time, while JUI’s Maulana Fazlur Rehman also reached the venue, The News International said citing sources.

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said the police operation in Parliament Lodges is “proof of Imran Khan’s nervousness.” “Violence against members of the Parliament and their arrests is unbearable, this is enough,” he said, adding that consequences of such dictatorial acts will not be good for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government.
Taking notice of the issue, PMLN Vice President Maryam Nawaz said that Islamabad police should refrain from acting like the prime minister’s “stooges”.

The arrested persons were released later in the day. As a result, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) dropped plans to block highways across Pakistan to protest against the arrests

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