PTI workers storm Sindh House

Two ruling party MNAs lead charged protesters, raise slogans against dissident lawmakers

Our Correspondent March 18, 2022


The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmakers and workers on Friday stormed the Sindh House in Islamabad in protest against the dissident members of the ruling party, who were staying inside the building.

The PTI legislatures and workers forcibly entered the building located in the Red Zone of the federal capital just days before the voting on the joint opposition’s no-trust motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The PTI National Assembly members (MNAs), Faheem Khan and Ataullah, along with a group of charged party workers entered the Sindh House, knocking down a gate and shouting slogans and holding Lotas (spouted globulars) in their hands to symbolise turncoats.

The two lawmakers called the disgruntled PTI members “traitors” and asked them to “comeback and seek apology” or resign and get themselves re-elected. A heavy contingent of the Islamabad police reached the scene and dispersed the protesters. The police arrested some of the protesters, including the two MNAs.

The Sindh House came into focus this week, especially after Premier Imran and some of his ministers accused the opposition of indulging in horse-trading ahead of the crucial vote on the no-confidence motion. They said that the Sindh House had become a centre for buying lawmakers.

The disgruntled PTI lawmakers, however, denied the allegation, when they appeared in footages aired by various TV channels on Friday. They said that they were staying in the Sindh House because of security concerns.

The top leadership of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) termed the attack “an act of terrorism”, with PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari saying: “A well-planned attack on Sindh House is tantamount to an attack on Sindh.”

The PPP chairman questioned how the protesters crossed dozens of police checkpoints and reached the Sindh House in the capital’s Red Zone. “The Sindh House is Sindh’s identity in the federation. Imran Khan showed his real hatred by invading Sindh,” Bilawal continued.

“We are not the kind of people who take the law into our own hands but we know how to deal with rebellious elements,” he said, adding that Imran violated the sanctity of privacy by attacking the residences of families of public representatives and judges of high courts located near the Sindh House.

Scenes at the Sindh House freshened up the memories of 2014 sit-in of the PTI in the Red Zone when its workers had barged into parliament and the PTV building in an attempt to oust the then government of prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

“The attackers of parliament, PTV and Parliament Lodges have attacked the Sindh House and have expressed their fascism,” Bilawal said. “Imran Khan is bewildered by his defeat. Such cheap tactics cannot get him the support of 172 members.”

The attack came a day after interviews of several PTI lawmakers flashed on television screens, revealing that they had sought refuge in the Sindh House, fearing the incumbent government’s action after they decided to vote on the no-confidence motion “according to their conscience”.

Former president and PPP Co-chairman Asif Zardari also condemned the attack, saying if Prime Minister Imran had enough numbers, he would have demonstrated his power in the National Assembly, instead of attacking the Parliament Lodges and the Sindh House.

“Imran Khan did not attack the Sindh House but the symbol of Sindh in the federation,” Zardari said. “Imran Khan has hurt the federal identity of Pakistan today and it is unbearable.”

He said that it was clear to the people now who had democratic values and who wanted to push the country towards anarchy by spreading chaos.

Other PPP leaders also condemned the attack. They also raised questions about the law enforcement personnel’s preparedness and warned of retaliation. The PPP leaders urged the higher judiciary to take note of such attacks and statements inciting violence.

They said that the PTI should keep in mind that other parties’ could also bring their workers on roads to protest against the government. Workers of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) had also gathered there but they dispersed after the party leadership asked them not to intervene at this time.

Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid regretted the incident, saying that he had directed the Islamabad inspector general of police to arrest all those, including the MNAs, involved in scaling the walls, breaking the gate and protesting in the high-security area.

Reportedly, police swung into action and arrested the around 15 to 20 PTI members as all political activities and protests were banned under Section 144 of the CrPC. The MNAs, however, were released.

However, the tone of Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry was altogether different from that of the interior minister. He blamed the PPP and asked the opposition to move the “turncoats” to another place, saying that they were not worthy of living in residential areas as the common man was displeased.

“If the Sindh House is turned into a new Changa Manga, [you] will have to face the public’s hatred,” Fawad told a private TV channel. In a tweet, Fawad again urged that the turncoats should be shifted to some other place.

Fawad said that the Sindh House was located in a very sensitive area, adding that “there will be [drama] throughout the month [and] how many people can we stop”.

As soon as information about the incident was received, PTI Secretary General Asad Umar directed the party workers to be patient and tolerant. He also directed the workers not to become a part of any action that was against the law and the Constitution.

Further, the social media was abuzz with some calling Islamabad police “Imran Khan’s Tiger Force” for being silent spectators to the incident, while others calling Sindh House “Sindh Brothel House”.







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