Friday, February 12, 2021
PML-N leader Ataullah Tarar had a brief brush with the law on Friday in Sialkot's Daska area, following which there was a flurry of claims and counterclaims made by the party and in response, the government, over the encounter.
According to Geo News correspondent Rana Ansar, police had stopped a PML-N convoy in Gujranwala within the jurisdiction of NA-75, in which MNA Javed Latif, Tarar, and other leaders were present.
After the vehicle was checked, police reportedly found a weapon in possession of the PML-N Gujranwala president's gunman, following which he was shifted to the police vehicle.
Tarar, Mustansar Gondal, and another PML-N leader, reacting to the move, told police officers that they would go along with their workers, after which, they were taken away by police.
Following the arrest, PML-N workers and MPAs staged a sit-in outside the City Police Station demanding their workers' and leaders' release.
When the episode first came to light, Uzma Bukhari said that PML-N leaders from Lahore were in Daska to campaign for by-polls when police came and took Tarar away.
According to Geo News correspondent Usman Bhatti, she said it is not known why he was taken away, adding that the party had not violated coronavirus safety measures.
Later party spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb also confirmed, what she termed as Tarar's "arrest".
Aurangzeb further termed it an act of "kidnapping" as the police booked him "without an arrest warrant".
The spokesperson, speaking to Geo News, said that the "fascist government" is taking such steps as they are aware of their "failure" in the by-elections.
Aurangzeb said that Tarar had "no case pending against him anywhere", adding that the authorities had "nabbed him as he was an active member in organising the by-election campaign".
She said that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) should take notice of the episode, claiming that this was "pre-poll rigging." The PML-N spokesperson demanded Tarar's immediate release.
Aurangzeb said that PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz is also scheduled to address a public rally in Daska, tomorrow. "This is why they are afraid and have arrested Tarar."
Tarar, in a video message, has vowed that he will respond to "every injury in kind".
"[Police] attacked us as they stopped [our convoy] for checking of weapons licenses," he said.
Tarar claimed that as he tried to resolve the matter, police nabbed him as well.
"Police thrashed my driver and bystanders who were filming the incident."
Later, the PML-N leader "thanked" Punjab Police, as owing to the event, there was now a "rally" in Wazirabad in support of the party.
The SSP Operations in Gujranwala, speaking to Geo News, said that "only the people carrying weapons were arrested", whereas the PML-N leaders came "voluntarily".
Responding to PML-N's claims, Special Assistant to Chief Minister Punjab on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan claimed that Tarar had voluntarily gone with police, therefore, "there is no question of a release, as it was not an arrest".
Awan said it was a "planned drama" on the part of the PML-N and they have "always faced embarrassment after such tactics".