Govt says Shahbaz Gill arrested in Islamabad on ‘sedition charges’

Interior Minister Rana Sana says PTI leader was arrested by the Islamabad Police after lodging an FIR


News Desk August 09, 2022
Federal Minister for Interior Rana Sanaullah along with Minister for Information and Broadcasting Maryam Aurangzeb addressing a press conference in Islamabad on August 9, 2022. PHOTO: PID

ISLAMABAD:

The federal government has confirmed that it has arrested Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Shahbaz Gill for sedition and inciting the public against state institutions.

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday following the arrest Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah along with Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said that Shahbaz was arrested by the Islamabad Police after lodging an FIR.

"If we had wished, we could've recovered 15kg of drugs from the car, but we will not indulge in any illegal act like Imran Khan," he said.

Rana said that a meeting was called by the PTI, chaired by former prime minister Imran Khan, to spread negative propaganda following the helicopter crash of the Pakistan Army in Balochistan.

He said a "conspiratorial role" of a private TV channel has also come to the fore, adding that Shahbaz Gill, former information minister Fawad Chaudhry and the channel's administration played the role on the instruction of Imran Khan.

He said that negative propaganda was spread against the martyr of the helicopter crash on social media.

"An attempt was made to incite mutiny and sedition in the Pakistan Army ranks and files. This whole conspiracy is being investigated and the conspiratorial characters are being determined. The entire nation is proud of the services and martyrs of the Pakistani forces," he added.

Earlier, PTI Vice-President Fawad Chaudhry, through his official Twitter handle, announced that Gill was kidnapped from near Bani Gala Chowk in the federal capital by unidentified individuals in unmarked vehicles.

PTI chief Imran Khan said the incident "is an abduction [and] not an arrest".

He questioned if such "shameful acts" could take place in a democracy where political workers are being "treated as enemies".

Imran maintained that such acts are being committed to making "us accept a foreign backed government of crooks".

PTI leader Murad Saeed also took to Twitter to state that Gill was 'abducted' after his car was attacked and his assistant assaulted by unknown individuals.

He further claimed that the abductors broke the windows on Gill's vehicle with Kalashnikovs.

Murad questioned how many people would the government arrest and how many journalists would it "ban".

He claimed a "terrible plan" was initiated, but PTI supporters had sent a "clear message" that any action against PTI chief Imran Khan would be overstepping the "red line".

The PTI's official Twitter handle posted a video of Gill's assistant following the abduction, stating that the PTI leader was "arrested" and he was "tortured". The assistant also showed his neck which had scratch marks.

The assistant, elaborating on the incident, said the windows of the car were broken with rifle stocks and Gill was handcuffed "as if he were a terrorist". He also alleged that eight to ten cars were present for Gill's "arrest" and that the PTI leader was "dragged" away.

Former human rights minister Shireen Mazari highlighted that first, a local news channel was taken off-screen by the "civilian dictatorship imported government" and then Gill was "arrested or abducted".

She maintained that if any "critical word" against the government would mean "no arrest warrant [and] you will be taken away".

Mazari alleged that this was the "grand design of [the] US regime change conspiracy and its abettors".

PTI leader Babar Awan also took to Twitter and claimed that Gill's arrest in the manner of an "abduction was condemnable" and showed how "scared" the government was. He urged the government to show some modesty and release Gill.

PTI decides to approach court

Meanwhile, the PTI has decided to approach the Islamabad High Court over the arrest of Shahbaz and also formed a legal team to pursue the matter.

Sources told Express News that this was decided during an emergency meeting chaired by Imran Khan following the arrest. The meeting mulled over the situation after the incident.

Power of people is with us: Imran

Addressing the participants, Imran Khan said that the government had come down to fascism and undemocratic moves are being taken against political workers.

He said that the fascist behaviour of the government will not be tolerated in any way. "The power of the people is with us... We have to fear no one as the days of imported government are numbered."

 

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