Scores of PDM leaders, workers arrested in Multan crackdown

Maulana Fazl, Rana Sana rush to Multan: Bilawal orders PPP leaders, workers to reach city

By: News Desk      Published: 11:54 AM, 29 Nov, 2020
Scores of PDM leaders, workers arrested in Multan crackdown

Multan district administration swung into action on Sunday and arrested scores of PDM leaders and activists including a son of former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and took back control of the Qasim Bagh Stadium which was gate-crashed by the Opposition workers yesterday and sealed the routes, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

The crackdown began late yesterday night and continued on Sunday with Multan Deputy Commissioner ordering 30-day detention of Gilani’s son Ali Qasim under MPO-16 alleging that he was involved in anarchy, peace disturbance and violation of coronavirus SOPs. Qasim, Jawad Ahmed and ex-MPA Dr Javed Siddiquie had been arrested by police from the rally venue.

Son of PML-N ex-MNA Sheikh Tariq Rashid, Barrister Hasan Tariq, was also arrested prompting a strong reaction from the lawyers’ fraternity.

PML-N Multan Divisional President Saad Khurshid Kanju was arrested from Kahror Pakka. Four PDM workers arrested from Liaquatpur. A case was registered against PML-N Lodhran District President Sheikh Iftikharuddin and 30 others.

The PDM workers carried out a rally from Gilani House and clashed with police near Chowk Ghanta Ghar. Police, in a bid to stop workers from charging through the barricades set in place to stop PDM rally.

In the clash, PDM workers tried to lift the containers and other impediments set by police to clear the way for their scheduled rally however, the police cracked down on their riots and arrested scores of them.

A case has been registered at Multan's Lohari Gate Police Station against 70 named leaders and 300 unnamed political workers for violation of newly-imposed restrictions and breaking into the stadium.

JUI-F top leader Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, Qadir Gilani, Ali Haider Gilani, Ali Qasim Gilani, Sheikh Tariq Rashid, Dr Javed Siddiqui, Ali Musa Gilani and other leaders were named in the FIR.

Ali Musa was arrested on November 25 as well. He was protesting the arrest of party workers when the police arrested him for violating coronavirus SOPs.

Another case has been filed against the caterers who had agreed to provide services to the organisers of the November 30 rally. The police have seized some of their equipment.

In response, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in a tweet blasted the government for arresting party workers. He wrote PTI’s government is so threatened by PPP’s upcoming foundation day in Multan, Punjab. They yet again attacked & arrested our workers including @KasimGillani. We will host PDM on Nov 30 come what may.@AseefaBZ will be reaching (there) to represent me. #JalsaTouHoga

Bilawal directed party leaders and workers to reach Multan ahead of PDM rally on Monday. In a statement, he said that the anti-government movement will be strengthened if Punjab police tried to stop the political workers from taking part in the rally.

In another tweet, Bilawal condemned the incident. "Fascist regime continues to arrest Democratic activists in Multan. These puppets are scared of jiyalas. Try as they might they cannot stop PPP from marking our foundation day along with PDM leaders on 30th November."

Moreover, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and PML-N senior leader Rana Sanaullah arrived in Multan on Sunday. Fazlur Rehman will chair a session of PDM parties in Multan to frame the strategy for November 30 rally.

Following the arrests, Maulana Faz decided to hold a news conference in the city today. It will be attended by leaders of other opposition parties such as the PPP's Yousaf Raza Gilani and PML-N's Rana Sanullah as well.

Earlier, the Multan administration took control of Qasim Bagh Stadium again besides arresting a number of PDM leaders and workers belonging to different political parties after they stormed into the venue by removing barriers,

Multan police and administration blocked the central routes of the stadium and removed the tents, chairs and other equipment from the venue of the PDM rally.

Meanwhile, on the directive of Deputy Commissioner, the Multan district administration has made all the preparations to deal with an emergency situation, for which a strategy has been finalised. All department officers have been ordered to stay put and do not leave the district during the next 72 hours.

Instructions were issued to prepare three helipads at stadium, Sabzazar and Alamdar Hussain Degree College to meet any emergency situation. Bomb disposal squad and Civil Defence Force personnel have also been put on alert. A control room has been activated at DC’s office with additional DC as the focalperson.

Later, Ali Qasim Gilani and PPP activist Jawad Gujjar were brought to Nishtar Hospital where samples were taken from them for coronavirus test.