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Islamabad Police on Thursday arrested 19 people during an operation to oust the members of Ansarul Islam, a uniformed volunteer force of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F), from Parliament Lodges, Aaj News reported.

JUI-F MNAs Salauddin Ayubi, Jamaluddin and Mufti Abdullah were also among those arrested by the police.

The police action came after members of Ansarul Islam entered the Parliament Lodges.

Islamabad Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Muhammad Ahsan Younus took notice of the group's presence inside the lodges. He suspended the police officials in charge at D-Chowk, parliament lodges, and took charge of the operation.

Upon his orders, the police stormed into the room of MNA Salahuddin Ayubi of Ansar-ul-Islam and arrested him along with other members of the party.

Shortly afterward, Ayubi’s staff started a clash with the police.

Several parliamentarians of the PPP and PML-N were also present in the lodges. PML-N MNA Khawaja Saad Rafique received injuries during a clash with the police.

Rafique said that their meeting was underway when the police entered the Lodges, adding that the police was harassing opposition MNAs ahead of the planned no-confidence motion.

Fazl surrenders in protest, announces countrywide strike

Following the incident, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman arrived at the Parliament Lodges, along with other opposition leaders of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), to surrender himself before the police.

Addressing the media persons at the occasion, Fazl urged all his workers to reach Islamabad as soon as possible.

“Those who cannot reach Islamabad immediately must take to the streets to protest against the police action,” he added.

The JUI-F chief said that the government wanted to abduct the Opposition’s members of the National Assembly by arresting them to reduce their numbers during the session when the no-confidence motion would be moved.

Interior Minister says police arrested members of 'private militia'

While addressing a press conference, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid said that the JUI-F MNAs brought with them 70 volunteers of Ansarul Islam inside the lodges.

“They were hidden inside the lodges,” he said, adding that a majority of them escaped after changing clothes, while 19 of them were arrested.

The minister said that the government wanted the matter to be resolved peacefully ... but they beat and locked up police officials and did not hand over Ansarul Islam members.

The interior minister said the police had arrested 19 members of a "private militia", adding that the two JUI-F MNAs "were sitting in the police station" of their own will.

“All private militias were dissolved in 2019 and now no one is allowed to keep such a force anymore,” Sheikh Rashid said, adding that the government will stop those who want to come out on the roads.

Referring to Fazl urging his workers to take to the streets, Rashid said, “Please don't take the law into your hands as otherwise action would be taken.”

He said he had directed all chief secretaries and IGs to take action against anyone who took law into their hands.

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