PTI-UK says not to protest outside Avenfield flats

Tariq Mehmood, who has been calling for a protest through WhatsApp groups, has also been linked to APML, TLP, and Zulfiqar Mirza

Our Correspondent

LONDON: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has distanced itself from a protest call outside the Avenfield flats by a man linked with former president General (retired) Pervez Musharraf’s party.

Tariq Mehmood, who is also known as Chauhdary Tariq Mehmood, has been sending messages in WhatsApp groups calling for a protest outside the Avenfield flats where the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is currently staying.

Mehmood claims that he has the PTI's support; however, the party's UK information secretary, Taqveem Ahsan Siddiqui, in a statement issued Sunday said: “The PTI has not called for any demonstration outside disqualified Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s residence”.

Siddiqui said: “It has been brought to our attention that an invite to demonstrate outside his residence is in circulation. PTI UK does not have any intention to call or join any demonstration outside Nawaz Sharif’s residence until he abides by his bail condition.”

He added that Nawaz was in UK for a medical check-up as per conditions granted by the Lahore High Court (LHC) and, as long as the bail conditions were effective and he abides by them, the PTI UK had no intention to have any activism outside his residence.

“PTI (UK) understands the sentiments of millions of Pakistanis living in UK, appreciate their passionate love for Pakistan and cannot put a restriction on their freedom to express," Siddiqui added.

"However, it also respects the provision and time given to the former disqualified Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif by the court, therefore at this occasion PTI UK distances itself from any such event or individual calling for such event until announced through official means and office bearers of the Party chapter in UK.

"PTI UK advises all supporters and activists of Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf to get confirmation from their respective elected officials of the chapters before attending any such activities.”

A spokesperson for Nawaz's party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), said Mehmood has been reported to the police over the “violent threats he had made”.

The spokesperson added that Mahmood had issued violent threats of entering the property by force, which is an offence, and the police had been informed. “We have also told the police that Tariq Mehmood has relations with an extremist group and he is known for issuing threats to community members.”

Mehmood, who has campaigned for the release of Karachi gangster Uzair Baloch, has claimed in posters that he was arranging demonstrations to “demand recovery of looted wealth”.

Mehmood has also been linked to Musharraf’s All Pakistan Muslim League (APML), Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP), and former interior minister of Sindh, Zulfiqar Mirza.