Thursday, March 10, 2022
ISLAMABAD: Islamabad police on Thursday conducted an operation inside the Parliament Lodges upon the command of the director-general of police (operations).
During the operation, the police arrested more than a dozen Ansar-ul-Islam workers — a uniformed volunteer force of the JUI.
The DIG instructed the officials to evacuate media personnel from the building as they made their way towards the lodge of Ansar-ul-Islam MNA — Salahuddin Ayubi — which was situated on the fourth floor of the building.
Shortly afterwards, Ayubi’s staff and police personnel entered into a clash. Several parliamentarians of the PPP and PML-N were also present in the lodges at the time, while JUI's Maulana Fazlur Rehman also reached the venue.
During a scuffle between the police and Ayubi’s staff at the lodges, PML-N leader Khawaja Saad Rafique was injured when his foot hit the door.
Rafique, while talking to journalists, said that Ayaz Sadiq was holding a meeting in the lodges when the incident happened.
“We found out that the police had entered the lodges and had surrounded it,” he said, adding that when his party members tried contacting the police, they were informed that the police had warrants against some people.
"We tried to convince them that they could not enter the lodges, but the police personnel remained adamant and entered by force."
Following the arrests of several workers and parliamentarians, JUI chief Fazl arrived at the Parliament Lodges to surrender himself before the police.
While speaking to the press, he urged all his party workers to reach the Parliament Lodges as soon as possible.
He said that the “government wants to abduct the Opposition’s members of the National Assembly by arresting them” to reduce their numbers during the session when the no-confidence motion is moved.
“I will surrender myself along with some of my friends,” he said, urging all workers to reach Islamabad as soon as possible.
“I request all party workers to block roads and shut down businesses,” Fazl said.
According to Geo News, police have also arrested MNA Maulana Jamaluddin and spokesperson Mufti Abdullah.
Former president and PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari condemned the “police brutality” in the Parliament Lodges, saying that “puppet Prime Minister Imran Khan is harassing the members of the Parliament by creating fear and terror among them."
“Attempts are being made to oust not only JUI members but all assembly members,” he said, urging police personnel to stop following “illegal orders of puppet Imran Khan.”
Zardari further added that members of the assembly should keep their spirits high as “the Niazi government is breathing its last.”
Meanwhile, Adviser to Chief Minister Sindh on Law Murtaza Wahab, who is also the Administrator Karachi, said the federal government is "panicking" as the Opposition has moved its no-confidence vote.
Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhary Fawad Hussain said the attack of JUI’s force on the Parliament Lodges is “condemnable from all aspects.”
Taking to his official Twitter handle, Chaudhry said that the armed group had reached the Parliament Lodges to "put pressure on the parliamentarians."
He further said that the Opposition will fail in its no-confidence motion against PM Imran Khan.
The minister said that the Speaker of National Assembly Asad Qaiser has directed the Islamabad police to take "strict action against the facilitators of these groups" and they will be dealt with according to the law.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Sheikh Ahmed Rasheed said that the "country might move towards a civil war."
Speaking about the clash between the police and Ansar-ul-Islam workers, Rasheed said: “Ansar-ul-Islam are attacking the police and [damaging] police vans."
He further added that JUI brought 70 people, adding that they held negotiations with the party to hand over their workers.
Rasheed further added that the Opposition leaders are outside the Parliament Lodges, and they are trying to stop anyone from entering the premises.
The interior minister will also hold a press conference later tonight.
Taking notice of the issue, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz said that Islamabad police should refrain from acting like the prime minister's "stooges".
“It is inappropriate to blame oneself for such insane acts, and the government will have to face difficulties because of this,” she wrote on Twitter.
Maryam urged PM Imran Khan to "open his eyes and see his party falling" because of his actions and not because of the Opposition or foreign conspiracy.
“You are responsible for this; your filthy language, arrogance, pride and disrespect for other leaders have led you to this position,” she said, adding that it’s too late now as his [Imran Khan’s] threats are useless now.
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said the police operation in Parliament Lodges is "proof of Imran Khan’s nervousness.”
“Violence against members of the Parliament and their arrests is unbearable and this is enough,” he said, adding that consequences of such "dictatorial acts" will not be good for the PTI government.
The PPP leader said that PM Imran Khan’s efforts to frighten the members of the Parliament through the police "will not bear fruits for him."
“Members of the Parliament have lost confidence in Prime Minister Imran Khan,” he said adding that “panicked and selected Imran Khan has started harassing the members of the Parliament.”
The members of the Parliament have staged a sit-in inside its premises in protest of the operation.
PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, leader of the Opposition in the Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Akram Khan Durrani, PML-N leaders Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Khawaja Saad Rafique, PPP’s Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah and JUI General Secretary Abdul Ghafoor Haideri are present inside the Lodges.
According to sources, an emergency meeting is being conducted under the chairmanship of Fazl at the residence of the arrested MNA Salahuddin.
Sources informed Geo News that the next course of action is being discussed in the meeting.
On the other hand, the police have left the Lodges after arresting dozens and two MNAs. They have transferred 10 members to the Secretariat Police Station.
The police have arrested Ayubi and the spokesperson Mufti Abdullah during the 30-minute operation. Other members of Ansar-ul-Islam left the Lodges after changing their clothes.
Addressing a press conference, Rasheed said the Opposition was bringing "mobs" into the Parliament, adding that "no one is allowed to keep private militia".
He said the police did not arrest the two JUI MNAs, instead, they had "voluntarily gotten themselves arrested" to "show off", and that "19 private militia members were in police custody."
"What is their issue? The issue is that Imran Khan has adopted a sovereign foreign policy — we are with the United States, Russia, and China. In the Ukraine-Russia war, we are a neutral player," he said.
The interior minister said the premier wanted to take the country forward, but noted that the Opposition was well in its right to move the no-confidence motion.
"The speaker will call a session within 14 days; he has not decided the date yet," he said.
The interior minister also warned the Opposition against taking the law into their hands, as he said that there was an attempt to destroy the peace of the country.
Rasheed referred to Director-General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar's press conference — where he mentioned that an Indian projectile entered Pakistan's airspace — and said that this is "Pakistan's security issue [and the Opposition should] not play with it]".
The interior minister said the government conducted "five-hour long talks with the Opposition" as Pakistan was not a "banana state".
"I have directed all chief secretaries and inspector generals to take those into custody who attempt to take the law into their hands."
He assured the MNAs that he would assist them in case they face any issue in the future, but warned them against keeping private militia — which will not be tolerated.
"We will crush anyone who tries to torture [anyone]," he warned.
Rasheed said after the talks with the Opposition "failed", he brought the matter into the NA speaker's notice and ordered the Islamabad police to arrest the Ansar-ul-Islam volunteers.
"70 people were there; 19 have been arrested; others will be identified and arrested," he said and stressed that the no-confidence motion was "a failure, a failure, a failure, a failure, a failure, as the Opposition cannot gather 172 members".
On the call of Fazl, JUI workers protested against the incident in the Parliament Lodges and started staging sit-ins at the following locations: