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LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) General secretary Asad Umar has termed the arrest of PTI senior leader Shahbaz Gill as illegal and believed that under the law he has the right to explain and justify his statement.

While addressing a press conference on Wednesday, the former federal minister said that one may disagree with what Shahbaz Gill said, but the use of force was not appropriate. He claimed that Gill was beaten while he was taken and added that the current government was trying to make a big case against the PTI.

“Whether any action was taken against Nawaz Sharif when he was rebuking the army’s top brass, and why he was not arrested or his party banned,” he questioned.

Umar averred that even after losing the government, PTI Chairman Imran Khan had even emphasised for a strong army; “the former Prime Minister had categorically said that Pakistan needs its army more than Imran Khan.”

He also claimed that a narrative of spat between the army and the PTI has been concocted by the coalition government; “a case was being made that the PTI was a threat to the country”. He pointed out that the rivals see PTI Chairman Imran Khan as a threat to the ‘status quo system’ and added that the foreign powers, which always dictated Pakistan, also see him as a threat.

“However, the people of Punjab rejected the imported government and chose the PTI in the election for Punjab Chief Minister. The people also rejected foreign interference and saw Imran as their hope. The nation was now aware of their power; decisions for the future of Pakistan will only be made by them and no one else,” he added.

While talking about the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP)’s decision, he claimed that the ECP verdict was ‘baseless, misinterpreted and discriminated’, and the commission overstepped its authority while jotting down remarks in it. “The report prepared by the ECP has many flaws,” he added.

While highlighting major flaws, he observed that the report presented fake information regarding the fund donors. He pointed out that several individuals who funded the party had now sent their recorded video statements and affidavit only to confirm their identity and the source of money. “However, the ECP was ignoring them only because it issued a verdict against us with a mala fide intent,” he added.

He further said that two fundraising events were held and all the funds gathered by the overseas Pakistanis were shown in the name of Arif Naqvi. He also pointed out that the interpretation of the law carried out by the ECP was erroneous while the Commission exercised its power beyond limits while announcing the verdict. He criticised the ECP for treating the PTI with ‘sheer discrimination’ through its verdict. He also dismissed the possibility of Khan being eliminated from mainstream politics.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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