- Asad Umar, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Azam Swati and Omer Sarfraz Cheema give arrest
Senior Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders including Asad Umar, Azam Swati, Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Omer Sarfraz Cheema on Wednesday voluntary surrendered themselves to the police as part of the ‘Jail Bharo campaign for Haqeeqi Azadi’, reported Aaj News.
Speaking from inside a police van, Shah Mahmood said “police has arrested me. They have told me that I am under arrest and they asked me to sit in the prisoners’ van. I assumed I would be taken to Capital City Police office but I don’t know where the police is taking me.”
On the other hand, police has decided to shift PTI leaders to jail. Police have announced that whoever wants to surrender voluntarily can come to the prisoners’ van.
Earlier, PTI leaders had reached Lahore’s Charing Cross as the party commenced its campaign. Supporters have taken to the streets in Lahore and it was reported that 200 party workers and around five PTI legislators and leaders plan to voluntarily give their arrest to authorities outside the Punjab Assembly.
PTI’s official Twitter account tweeted pictures and videos of party leaders converging at Lahore’s Charing Cross.
In a series of tweets, PTI chairman Imran Khan had earlier said that the movement is a peaceful, nonviolent protest against the attack on the country’s constitutionally-guaranteed fundamental rights.
“We are facing sham FIRs and NAB cases, custodial torture, attacks on journalists and social media people,” he tweeted.
“It is against the economic meltdown brought on by cabal of crooks who have money laundered billions in looted wealth and gotten NROs for themselves while crushing the ppl, especially the poor and middle class, under the burden of spiraling inflation and rising unemployment.”
In a video message, the chairman had urged people to take to the streets for “true freedom”.
“This campaign will take you to a free and happy Pakistan. And this will only happen when the state protects your fundamental rights.”
Earlier, the Punjab government imposed Section 144 on The Mall, Gulberg Main Boulevard as well as outside the Punjab Civil Secretariat and its adjoining roads to prohibit all kinds of assemblies, sit-ins and processions.
On February 17, Imran Khan had announced to start the movement to protest against the violations of Constitution and press the coalition government to hold elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
Among the PTI leaders, former Punjab Governor Omar Sarfraz Cheema, Waleed Iqbal, former Punjab Education Minister Dr Murad Raas, Fawad Bullar and Muhammad Khan Madni are expected to give their arrests.
However, if the authorities do not arrest the PTI activists, they will stage a sit-in.
After Lahore, the movement will head to other major cities; as per the schedule, PTI activists will give arrests in Peshawar on February 23, in Rawalpindi on February 24, in Multan on February 25, in Gujranwala on February 26, in Sargodha on February 27, in Sahiwal on February 28 and in Faisalabad on February 29. After this, a new schedule will be given for the movement.
While talking to the media outside the Imran’s residence, PTI Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry said that the movement will commence on Wednesday and PTI political activists will give their arrests to the authorities at Faisal Chowk.
“The movement was being launched to protest against violations of the fundamental rights, abuse of the Constitution, inflation and economic meltdown caused by the incumbent government,” he said.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said that the PTI’s arrest drive was aimed at creating political instability and a law and order situation in the country. He said “miscreants” will be arrested except for “women and poor workers.”