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Friday Jul 13 2018

LHC orders release of illegally detained PML-N workers

The Lahore High Court on Friday, July 13, 2018, ordered the release of PML-N workers illegally detained by law enforcement agencies by 2pm today. Photo: File

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday ordered the release of PML-N workers illegally detained by law enforcement agencies by 2pm today (Friday). 

According to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shehbaz Sharif, around 400 workers have so far been detained and arrested from Lahore and Rawalpindi. Shehbaz has slammed the interim Punjab government for the arrests of workers from Lahore ahead of party supremo Nawaz Sharif's return, terming the arrests "naked pre-poll rigging." 

Hearing a PML-N petition against the arrests today, Justice Anwarul Haq inquired the provincial home secretary and Inspector General of Police (IGP) Dr Syed Kaleem Imam if they had a list of the detained individuals. 

The home secretary responded by saying that 141 individuals had been arrested. The court then ordered the home department to immediately present the list of the detained individuals. 

"Any actions that disturb the system should not be taken," the court noted. 

The IGP then informed the court that the arrests were made on account of terrorism. 

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz workers protest outside a police station on Thursday, July 12, 2018. Photo: Geo News screengrab

Following the arrests in Lahore a day earlier, a large number of PML-N workers protested outside police stations and key party leaders — Saad Rafique, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and Pervaiz Malik — held an emergency press conference at 3:30am. 

Demanding the interim Punjab government and the caretaker prime minister to "immediately release arrested workers", Rafique said his party would announce its next plan of action should the arrested workers not be released by noon on Thursday.

Emergency steps taken to ensure peaceful polls: DIG Lahore 

Meanwhile, deputy inspector general (DIG) Lahore Shahzad Akbar said that “emergency steps” are being taken to ensure that the July 25 polls are held in a peaceful environment following the suicide attack in Peshawar which claimed the lives of 22, including Awami National Party (ANP) leader Barrister Haroon Bilour.

A Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz worker makes the victory symbol as he poses for the camera while being shifted to a police van on July 12, 2018. Photo: Geo News screen grab 

“The Ministry of Interior prepared a list and division officers were directed to arrest problematic workers of political parties,” DIG Lahore added.

Further, containers have been placed at Mall Road in an expected bid to seal major routes leading to the airport in order to thwart political rallies today, when deposed prime minister Nawaz and his daughter Maryam are expected to arrive in the city around 6pm. 


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