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LAHORE: Expressing serious reservations and anguish over the arrest of Pakistan Tehreek-e-insaf (PTI)’s Senior Vice-President Fawad Chaudhry, the PTI leaders have demanded his immediate release.

“Arguments’ should be countered by arguments, and not by arrests; the coalition government should appear before the court to prove him (Fawad Chaudhry) wrong,” said PTI General Secretary Asad Umar, while talking to the media, here on Wednesday.

He said, “The coalition government was afraid of Fawad Chaudhry speaking the truth. If the federal government wanted to know how to counter terrorism in the country, it should get inspiration from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government. The people were facing the worst inflation and businesses were closing daily.”

PTI senior leader Farrukh Habib expressed his frustration and said those who were responsible for not producing Chaudhry before the court should be brought to justice. He also appealed to the judiciary to take action and also sought action against the Punjab IGP.

Castigating the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), Habib said for how long cases will be fabricated against the opponents, adding: “We are waging a struggle peacefully and have adopted a democratic way by opting to dissolve the assemblies.”

Moreover, PTI Central Punjab President Dr Yasmin Rashid in a separate media talk outside the PTI Chairman’s residence said that by arresting their leader in the wee hours, the imported government has proven that it was coward. She pointed out that they all were criticising the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), adding that it has become a servant of Nawaz Sharif’s house and thus compromised its impartiality. “Despite the biased attitude of ECP, the PTI won the by-elections in July 2022 with the support of the people,” he added.

She maintained that they were not afraid of these foul tactics; “the PTI is standing firm even after taking bullets”. “We do not fear being arrested, but I request the establishment to honour former COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s words of remaining neutral. The people are not stupid; they know what the institutions were doing. Our opponents fear elections, as they know that the people on our side,” she added.

She lamented the government for the current economic mess in the country; “petrol and electricity have become too expensive, while the country plunged into darkness after power failure and the federal minister was clueless on the power breakdown. If the current situation persists, we will not have any electricity. The incumbent rulers were only focused on NROs (amnesty),” she added.

The former Punjab Health Minister said that Khan’s message has reached every corner of the country, adding that no commotion could distract them from the elections; “We will contest the elections with full force.”

She pointed out that the ECP’s partial behaviour was not new to them; “the very appointment of Mohsin Naqvi as the interim Punjab Chief Minister reflects its biases. Naqvi’s role in the regime change operation was very evident and it reflects his enmity with the PTI.” She also urged the Punjab Governor to give a date for the elections at the earliest.

In a separate media talk, PTI leader Mussarat Jamshaid Cheema castigated the government for arresting the PTI Senior Vice President. “If you were offended by the word munshi (clerk) then I call you peon. If they seek respect then they should earn it,” she added.

She averred that Fawad Chaudhry was not afraid of foul tactics; he was a brave son of Punjab. He said that if there was anything higher in the country, it was the Constitution of Pakistan. “For this, we would continue with our struggle. Why were ‘they’ threatening us with jails? What kind of money laundering have we done,” she questioned.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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