The Balochistan police refused to arrest the opposition lawmakers as sixteen of them surrendered at the Quetta’s Bijli Road Police Station in connection with an FIR registered against them.
Following mayhem on June 18 related to the provincial budget of financial year 2021-22, the lawmakers on Sunday were booked for attacking police personnel and issuing threats to them.
The riots happened as the security force was clearing the roads leading to the Balochistan Assembly which were blocked by the opposition parties as a protest against the government.
On Monday as many as 16 lawmakers, including the Opposition Leader in the Balochistan Assembly Advocate Sikandar Khan, Malik Naseer Ahmad Shahwani, Nasrullah Zairay, Sana Baloch, Mir Zabid Ali Reiki, Ahmad Nawaz Baloch, Shakeela Naveed Dehwar, Mir Akbar Mengal, Babu Rahim Mengal, Syed Azizullah Agha, Mir Hamal Kalmati, Akhtar Hussain Langau, Maulvi Noorullah, Makhi Sham Lal, Asghar Ali Tareen and Haji Nawaz Kakar reached the police station.
The police interrogated the members of the assembly who refused to return from the police station and insisted on the arrest.
When contacted Quetta District Inspector General Police Azhar Akram said the security force had put the arrest of the opposition lawmakers on hold as only the Investigation Officer would decide the matter against the nominated members of the FIR on the basis of evidence and investigation.
Akram maintained the police had asked the lawmakers to record their statements, saying the security force was “gathering evidence” and they would arrest the MPAs, “if necessary”.
Responding to a question, the Quetta DIG said the police was an independent investigation body and they had not received any instructions from the government or any other source to arrest the MPAs or not to arrest them.
Meanwhile, pillows and carpets were also delivered to the police station for the lawmakers as they were present at the police station till Monday evening.
Before marching towards the police station in a procession, the opposition lawmakers of the Balochistan Assembly gathered at the MPA Lodges in Quetta and surrendered. Meanwhile, the parliament lodges, adjoining areas and roads were cordoned off with containers and barbed wire.
In the premises of the provincial assembly, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Balochistan President and MNA Maulana Abdul Wasay while talking to media said the opposition was barred from recording their protest and the surroundings of the assembly were made an occupied territory of the province.
“The members of the assembly want to leave for the police station but obstacles have been put to stop the unarmed political activists,” said Wasay, adding the situation seemed that a contingent of security forces had been deployed in Kashmir.
The JUI leader accused the authorities of attempting to assassinate the opposition leaders, saying the protesting MPAs would break the gates of the Assembly if it hindered the movement of the lawmakers.
He added the government should abandon the tradition of labelling themselves as angels and the opposition members as thugs. The opposition party member in Balochistan also claimed that during the eras of dictatorship the democratic situation was not as severe as it was today as the opposition was not deprived of its constitutional rights.
Wasay alleged the government for filing the case against the opposition lawmakers and labeling them thugs and terrorists.
“The government has decided to arrest the MPAs. Now they are stepping back and not arresting the lawmakers which implies that the FIR was based on mala fide intentions,” he added.
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