Sana says 1,700 PTI supporters detained in over 4,000 raids in Punjab

Interior minister says ready to comply with SC directives as per PM's instructions

News Desk May 25, 2022

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah on Wednesday said the Punjab police arrested at least 1,700 members of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in “4,414 raids across the province” in a bid to scuttle the ‘bloody’ long march by the former ruling party.

The minister made these remarks while addressing a press conference alongside Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb in Islamabad.

According to Sanaullah, the police were told by the government not to adopt an “aggressive stance” during the raids. It may be noted here that the police had come under intense criticism following a spate of raids on the houses of PTI leaders.

Sana told journalists that at least 1700 arrests were made during these raids. “Out of these 1700, 250 people signed affidavits that they were not part of this ‘fitna’ and were allowed to go home while the rest of them had been detained under MPO (Maintenance of Public Order) 16,” the minister added.

In response to a question, Rana Sana said if arrests made by the Sindh police were added to the number of detention in Punjab then the number could have been “1720 or 1724”.

Read 'No deal' with govt says Imran, urges people to join long march

In his presser, Sana claimed that people refused to join the ‘anarchic’ protest of the PTI and chose to stay at home. He claimed out of 200 million residents of Lahore, only “250-300 came out to express their support for the former ruling party”.

He said the public wanted to see Pakistan grow in a democratic way instead of becoming part of a plan to derail its progress.

Speaking about the protesters coming from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa led by Imran Khan, the interior minister, in a sarcastic tone, said that the government was ready to extend its ‘welcome’ to them.

He said a strategy had already been in place to ‘thin marchers out’ before reaching Islamabad.

Speaking about the hearing of a petition in the Supreme Court, the minister said the SC was the “supreme protector” of the Constitution of Pakistan. He added that the government would comply with the order of the top court as per the instructions of the prime minister. “It is our responsibility and legal and constitutional duty as well,” he added.

According to Sana, the three-member bench had proposed a negotiation team to break the impasse over the protest. He added that the four-member team of the PTI was being led by Babar Awan whereas the prime minister would have announced the government team by this time as well.

He said if anyone was willing to talk then the government would negotiate but it would not let anyone take the law into their own hands. “We have not stopped anyone from exercising their constitutional rights,” Sana said, adding that violence, however, would not be tolerated. He added that the government had allowed Imran to hold at least “33 political gatherings” since the ouster of his government in April this year.

The minister also requested the court to keep the events of the 2014 sit-in, such as the attack on the PTV building and broken promises by Imran regarding the protest venue, in mind while taking its decision on the petition filed by the PTI.

Furthermore, the minister reiterated that no agreement had been reached with the PTI over the sit-in, however.


Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ