PTI leaders Shireen Mazari, Yasmin Rashid arrested

Former Punjab health minister Dr Yasmin Rahsid was arrested in a raid carried out in Lahore

Ahmed Faraz
Ahmed Subhan
Azam Malik

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: The police crackdown on Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders shows no signs of slowing down as senior PTI leaders Dr Shireen Mazari and Dr Yasmin Rashid were arrested by police in raids carried out in Islamabad and Lahore.

According to officials, the Islamabad police raided Shireen Mazari's house during the early hours of Friday. Her arrest comes after a series of arrests of several other PTI leaders, including Imran Khan, Asad Umar, Fawad Chaudhry, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Ali Mohammad Khan, and Senator Ejaz Chaudhry.

All of these leaders other than Imran Khan were arrested under section three of the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO).

According to a PTI statement, former Punjab health minister Dr Yasmin Rashid has also been arrested.

PTI leaders Shireen Mazari, Yasmin Rashid arrested

PTI leader Andaleeb Abbas said that the former minister was hiding to avoid arrest. 

"Police had taken her close family members into custody two days ago but her husband was released after his health deteriorated. Her brother-in-law is still in police custody.

There are a number of cases filed against Dr Yasmin Rashid including that of an attack on Lahore Corps Commander's residence.

Meanwhile, sources told Geo News on Friday that PTI leaders Khusro Baktiar, Afzal Sahi and Bilal Basra have also been rounded up and shifted to Lahore's Sarwar Road Police Station. 

Imran Khan released

In a major legal victory for PTI on Thursday, Chairman Imran Khan's arrest in the Al-Qadir Trust case has been declared "illegal" by the Supreme Court on May 11, and authorities have been instructed to release him "immediately". 

The apex court has sent the PTI chief to the Police Lines Guest House, allowing him to spend the night with his family and close freinds. 

The court has also ordered Imran Khan to appear before the Islamabad High Court (IHC) by tomorrow, which is the same court that previously declared his arrest to be legal. 

It is important to note that the court has set a precedent that no person shall be arrested within the premises of a court.

'We will arrest him again'

It was not immediately clear when he would be allowed to go home.

Undeterred by his ouster and the assassination attempt, Khan has led countrywide protest campaigns to pressure the government to call early elections scheduled for later this year.

The graft case is one of more than 100 registered against him in which, if convicted, he could face a ban from holding public office.

"We will arrest him again," said Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah.

Khan, who was accused in the graft case of land fraud worth up to seven billion rupees ($24.70 million), denies any wrongdoing.

After Khan's arrest, hundreds of protesters blocked highways, main entry and exit routes to all major cities, attacking and burning state buildings, police and public vehicles and rampaged through army installations.

Nearly 2,000 people were arrested and at least eight killed, prompting the government to call out the army to help restore order. Khan told the court that he was manhandled at the time of his arrest and hit with a stick, according to local media report.

The streets were mostly quiet on Thursday except for sporadic protests.