Tuesday Feb 16, 2021
KARACHI: PTI leader Haleem Adil Sheikh has been arrested, Senior Superintendent of Police Malir Irfan Bahadur said on Tuesday, as clashes took place amid polling in the city's PS-88 constituency.
According to Geo News correspondent Talha Hashmi, two cases were registered against Sheikh at the Gadap and Memon Goth police stations for disrupting an anti-encroachment drive carried out at his farmhouse on February 6.
He is currently being held at the Special Investigation Unit in Saddar, police informed Geo News, later in the evening.
At the time of the arrest earlier in the day, riot police were stationed outside the SSP's office. Water cannons and additional troops were also at the ready to deal with any protests. All the police personnel were given anti-riot gear.
At one point, Sheikh attempted to exit the SSP's office, where he was brought after being escorted out of the constituency, but his departure was prevented by police personnel.
A video statement of Sheikh was released following his arrest.
"I have been informed by the SSP Malir that I have been arrested," he said.
"As Leader of the Opposition, I should have been given security," Sheikh said, adding that security was withdrawn "on the orders of Zardari and Bilawal".
He said that he was not present in the constituency but his workers were "attacked".
"When I got there, I too, was attacked," he alleged, adding that his guards resorted to aerial firing to disperse the "attackers".
"They harassed me to influence the election," Sheikh claimed, without naming anyone.
He further claimed that the party workers were forcibly removed from the polling stations and shoved around.
"The PPP have tried to take over the election via an elaborate plot," he alleged.
"I will not let go of this easily. There will be payback for every move," Sheikh said.
The PTI leader said that he was taken away from the constituency but was not allowed to leave the SP police's office. He also said that his guards were taken into police custody.
Conflicting reports had emerged of the arrest, with the move earlier denied by the DIG East.
On the orders of the Election Commission of Pakistan, Sindh Police had escorted Sheikh out of the PS-88 constituency as clashes broke out between PTI and PPP party workers.
“Haleem Adil Sheikh is being removed from the constituency on the orders of the Election Commission,” said DIG East Muhammad Nouman Siddiqui, insisting that the PTI leader was not arrested.
He added that the Opposition leader in the Sindh Assembly has been taken to the SSP Malir's office.
The police was acting on the orders of the ECP, after the latter had sent written orders to remove Sheikh from the constituency.
The order was written by the Regional Election Commissioner Nadeem Haider and was sent to SP Malir.
In a separate letter to SSP Malir, Haider told the police to make sure that no elected representative is in the constituency.
He added that if any elected representative is found then he or she should be kicked out.
Earlier, the PPP had complained to the chief election commissioner alleging that the PTI leader was harassing voters in the constituency along with armed men.
PPP leader Saeed Ghani in a media briefing accused Sheikh of going around the constituency amid polling accompanied by armed men and firing shots in the air. He said video evidence is available to support this.
A letter written by PPP leader Taj Haider had demanded the ECP direct the police to remove Sheikh and the armed men. He had also claimed in the letter that the PTI leader was offering Ehsaas programme cards to the voters.
Polling took place today for by-election on the Provincial Assembly constituency, PS-88 Malir II (Karachi).
The polling begun at 8am and continued till 5pm.
There are a total of 145,627 registered voters in the constituency; of total 81,425 are male voters and 64,202 female voters.
Strict security measures were taken to control law and order situation in the city.
The seat fell vacant after Ghulam Murtaza Baloch, the minister for human settlement, died of COVID-19. The PPP had given a ticket to Muhammad Yousuf Baloch, while PTI fielded Jan Sher Junejo to contest the by-election.
Apart from this, there were around a dozen candidates belonging to different parties and independents also in the race for the PS-88 by-polls.
— With additional input from APP.