Islamabad : Islamabad Police on Thursday stormed Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) youth convention here and arrested over 200 party workers for protesting against the government.
Following the crackdown, PTI Chairman Imran Khan gave a call for countrywide protests against the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government, Pakistan Today online reported. He said PTI had already announced that the government would have to bear the consequences if it initiates violence.”We told the government that we would remain peaceful if they had remained peaceful. Now the movement will take a different direction,” Dawn online quoted the PTI chairman as saying.
He reiterated the call for countrywide protests on Friday and said the police can arrest him if they want “under Section 144”.
PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi condemned the incident and stated that the police have tortured peaceful members, including women, of the party. He said he and PTI leader Asad Umar had organised the function to mobilise youth.
He said a clear divide was visible between autocratic and democratic thought in the country. He demanded that the police should release the arrested PTI workers immediately otherwise they would be responsible for the consequences.
Earlier in the day, Imran Khan vowed to go ahead with scheduled “lockdown” of Islamabad on November 2 at any cost. Talking to reporters in Islamabad, he said protest is their “legal and constitutional” right.
“No power or deception can stop us from holding a sit-in in Islamabad,” Dawn online quoted him as saying.
Sharif’s aides meet army chief
Amid reports of a rift between Pakistan’s civilian and military leaderships, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s three top aides have met Army chief Gen Raheel Sharif and discussed the situation.
Sharif’s younger brother and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar met army chief, reports PTI.
According to the Inter Services Public Relations, the military’s public affairs wing, the meeting was held at Army House in Rawalpindi and lasted for 90 minutes. ISI chief Lt Gen Rizwan Akhtar was also present during the meeting. “The delegation briefed COAS on the progress of investigation and recommendations related to planted story of National Security breach of October 6,” said a press release issued by army after the meeting.