LAHORE: The claim of the Punjab Home Department and the Punjab Police about alleged recovery of ‘illegal weapons’ from the house of PTI’s Lahore chapter leaders, Zubair Niazi and Bajash Niazi, fell flat on Wednesday and the Punjab government’s position on the seizure of illegal weapons from PTI Lahore chapter leaders has weakened, Pakistan Today had learnt.
It is pertinent to mention here that in order to foil the long march planned by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on May 25, several PTI workers were arrested from their homes and cases were registered against them.
A day before the long march, the house of PTI leader and well-known transporter Bajash Khan Niazi and Zubair Niazi was also raided by the police and according to the police, modern and huge quantity of arms were recovered from his house.
Later, in a press conference, DIG Operations Sohail Chaudhry informed that Lahore police had intelligence that deadly and modern weapons were being brought to Lahore to disturb law and order and create an atmosphere of insecurity.
According to the DIG, strict checking was started on all the entrances of the city and late at night, some suspicious vehicles broke through the roadblock and entered the city, which was pursued by Lahore police whereas vehicles entered the houses of PTI General Secretary Zubair Niazi and Bajash Niazi and meanwhile police raided their house.
He said that a large quantity of modern, deadly and unlicensed weapons including 6 rifles of 223 bore, 13 SMGs, 10 pistols, 96 rifle magazines, 26 pistol magazines, 6 large and 50 small boxes of ammunition were recovered.
However, the police could not arrest Bajash Niazi but registered a case against him under terrorism provisions.
In a recent development, it has been proved that the licenses had been issued against the recovered weapons. But Police has now got the 14 licenses against the recovered weapons cancelled by the Arms Branch of District Commissioner. The 14 arms licenses were issued to Bajash Niazi and his transport company in the light of the recommendations of Punjab Home Department and Police.
When contacted, the district administration’s spokesperson Imran Maqbool confirmed that 14 licenses were issued to Bajash Niazi and Niazi Express Transport.
“A total of nine licenses were issued in the name of Bajash Khan Niazi and five licenses were issued in the name of Niazi Express Transport Company (Shifaullah). The Punjab Home Department had directed DC Lahore to cancel these licenses. These licenses have been revoked in the interest of law and order and for misuse,” Maqbool said.
When contacted, Home Department and Punjab Police sources informed this scribe that the weapons recovered from Bajash Niazi’s house were not illegal.
“Since Bajash Niazi was arranging transport for the PTI’s long march and the PML-N leader Rana Mashhood had directed that arms be recovered from Bajash’s house. Although Bajash had weapons for a long time which was rarely used but it was definitely on display. Similarly, he has some animosities and keeps the weapons with him,” they said.
According to a Home Department official, the police and the Home Department have shown great folly by canceling Niazi’s weapons licenses.
“The purpose of canceling these licenses is to keep Niazi’s weapons in the possession of the police, but it also proves that the said weapons were not ‘illegal’. When the weapons were recovered from Niazi’s home, there was widespread outcry from government officials that the weapons were illegal and intended to destabilize the law and order situation. Now canceling the licenses of the said weapons means to misrepresent and deny the position of the government,” he said.
When contacted, DIG Operations Sohail Chaudhry said that unless an arms license is presented, it is illegal.
“If they had shown us the license, something else would have happened but they escaped,” he maintained.
However, Bajash Niazi claimed that the police party did not have a warrant when his house was raided and searched which continued for two and a half to three hours.
“The police broke down the doors of my house which could have been easily opened. I was already saying that all my weapons are legal and licensed. The police stole valuables from my house and harassed my family. Neither did I intend to go on the Long March, nor did I set out to go on the Long March as police recovered weapons from my home and tried to prove me a terrorist. I was wrongfully charged however, now I fully expect justice from the court,” he lamented.