LHC moved against arrests amid police crackdown on PML-N
ATC extends interim bail for Rana Sana, Capt Safdar, others in NAB office clash case
As police are going after the opposition leaders and workers, especially those affiliated with the PML-N, across Punjab, the Lahore High Court (LHC) was moved on Thursday against the crackdown with pleading that every citizen enjoyed the constitutional right to protest, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
The move came amid the extensive crackdown against the PML-N as part of which a list compiled in Lahore mentioned the names of 425 party leaders and workers as “miscreants”. The most prominent among them are Rana Sanaullah, Pervaiz Malik and his wife Shaista Pervaiz Malik as well as their son Ali Pervaiz Malik, Malik Afzal Khokhar and Waheed Alam Khan.
Nasir Chohan, the petitioner, prayed the LHC to order the release of PML-N workers and noted that the arrests were in violation of Articles 15 and 19 of the Constitution.
He also sought court intervention against the blocking of roads by placing containers and barricades, and said the government had directed the police to stop the opposition leaders, workers and supporters from reaching the rally venue in Gujranwala.
Also on Thursday, an anti-terrorism court in Lahore extended the interim bail of Rana Sanaullah, Capt Safdar and other PML-N leaders till Oct 17 in a case related to rioting outside the NAB office when Maryam Nawaz visited the place for appearing before investigators.
During the hearing, the defence counsel, Farhad Ali Shah, argued for extending the bails, saying his clients could not appear before the court because of the police were conducting raids at their homes throughout the night.
They did not sleep at their homes to avoid detention, he said, referring to the crackdown on opposition leaders and workers before the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) rally scheduled for Oct 16 (Friday) in Gujranwala.
“The government ministers say on TV that Rana Sanaullah would be arrested in the morning,” the counsel representing the PML-N leaders added.
Later, the judge extended the interim bail, saying no party should feel that the court was biased.
Although the government on Wednesday night allowed the opposition to hold a rally in Gujranwala, the ground reality is totally different as the police continued conducting raids for more arrests in different towns and cities.
In this connection, 16 police teams were constituted in Rawalpindi for detaining the active PML-N leaders and workers, but they failed to have in executing the plan as the opposition activists went in hiding after witnessing arrests in Gujranwala, Mandi Bahauddin, Gujrat, Lahore and other districts.
However, reports about police action are arriving from various towns and cities as the government wants to show the opposition rally as a failure and is aiming at avoiding a large crowd on Oct 16.
Reacting to the government highhandedness, PML-N Secretary General Ahsa Iqbal, who was in Narowal, said the “rejected Niazi” would have to go, adding that they were not afraid of arrests.
Similarly, Rana Sana told media persons in Lahore that the government had no policy except that of persecution and fake cases were being registered against the opponents. “The people are tired of the incumbent government,” he maintained.
In a statement, PPP Punjab Central President Qamar Zaman Kaira said his party workers were not afraid of prison, adding that every road crossing was showing the image of police rule.
“The government has nothing for the people except inflation, joblessness and hate,” the senior PPP leader remarked.