Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf claimed on Tuesday that police had arrested thousands of its activists ahead of their departure to Lahore to participate in the Azadi March.
Ejaz Janjua, the PTI southern Punjab chief, told The Express Tribune that 7,000 arrests had made in Sahiwal, Sargodha, Multan and Dera Ghazi Khan.
Janjua claimed that 18,000 students from various institutions had volunteered from Southern Punjab to take part in the march. He said the volunteers had been directed to reach Lahore and Islamabad.
PTI Rahim Yar Khan district president Rana Raheel Ahmed, who left for Lahore in a bus, was taken into custody by police near Taranda Muhammad Panah on Monday.
Police have sealed the Sindh-Punjab border at Kot Sabzal. Hundreds of PTI activists have been waiting since Monday night to cross over to Punjab.
Rahim Yar Khan DPO Sohail Zaffar Chattha said that the border had been sealed to avert any law and order situation in Punjab.
Vehari DPO Sadiq Ali Dogar said that police had arrested 43 PTI activists. Okara DPO Babar Bakht said that only 130 PAT had been taken into custody.
Rajanpur DPO Zahid Mehmood Gondal said that only 20 PTI activists had been taken into custody. Layyah DPO Ghazi Salahuddin, Lodhran DPO Gohar Mushtaq, Muzafarhgarh DPO Rai Zameerul Haq, Pakpattan DPO Shah Nawaz Sandhela, Bahawalanagar DPO Muntazir Mehdi denied that any arrests had been made in their respective districts.
According to police record, 320 PAT and PTI activists were arrested from Faisalabad division. Seventy-two PTI activists and 17 PAT workers were arrested on Tuesday, while 241 workers were taken into custody on Sunday and Monday.
The police are still conducting raids at the homes of PTI and PAT workers to stop them from taking part in the Inqlab and Azadi marches.
PTI and PAT leaders claimed that three hundred PTI workers and 200 PAT activists were arrested by police in Gujranwala district. They said the arrests were made by Civil Lines, Model Town, Satellite Town, Nowshera Virkan, Kamoke and Tatlay Aali police on Tuesday.
PTI Punjab Vice President Rana Sajid Ali Shaukat said that police were harassing his family members.
He said that police were arresting relatives of PTI activists most of whom had left for Lahore to participate in the march. A spokesman for the Gujranwala DPO, however, denied that police were arresting PTI or PAT workers.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 13th, 2014.