Lahore police arrest five PTI workers during raid on candidate’s offices

LAHORE: The Lahore Factory Area Police on Wednesday stormed the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) corner meeting being held in PP-168 ahead of by-election and arrested five, of total 15 party workers nominated in the case of display of weapons and violation of the electoral code of conduct.

According to the FIR registered on the complaint of Sub-Inspector Rashid Shakoor, a PTI worker named Ahmed Nawaz was posing as FC personnel by donning the Force’s uniform. It was further alleged in the report that the PTI workers resisted the police action and even managed to get three of their party men from its custody.

Meanwhile, PTI candidate from PP-168 Lahore Malik Nawaz Awan alleged that police came to his party office and asked him to stop the election campaign. He said that police have also arrested his guards and workers.

On the other hand, police said that five persons were arrested for displaying weapons and violating code of conduct during the raid on PTI candidate’s office. Meanwhile, PTI leader and former federal minister Farrukh Habib while talking to media said that Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shahbaz is misusing his power and government machinery is being used in the by-elections.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has strongly condemned a “raid” at its Lahore PP-168 constituency candidate Malik Nawaz Awan’s office that occurred late Tuesday night. Video footages of the incident have since surfaced on social media where police can be seen arresting personnel at the event.

PTI Senator Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry termed the incident “police harassment” of the candidate and urged the officials “not to become personal slaves of Hamza Shehbaz.”

Senior PTI leader Dr Yasmin Rashid echoed the same concerns, as she called on the Punjab police to “stop open bullying”. Another PTI leader Andalib Abbas expressed concerns that “police are sabotaging peaceful elections by bullying PTI leaders and workers”.

Meanwhile, party senior leader Farrukh Habib alleged that the incident occurred as a result of “fears of defeat” on part of the provincial government. “Police cannot demoralise PTI workers with its clever tactics,” added the PTI information secretary for Central Punjab.

“IG Punjab should take immediate notice and release the guards and marriage hall owner immediately,” said Senator Ijaz Chaudhry.

The by-elections in 20 Punjab constituencies are to be held on July 17.

‘No raid at PTI candidate’s office’

Contrary to the PTI’s claims, the Lahore Police have denied the incident saying: “Police did not raid any PTI candidate’s office.” “Private armed men were accompanied by gunmen from another province in a corner meeting with the PTI candidate Malik Nawaz Awan in a private market,” said the Lahore Police Operations Wing spokesperson.

The spokesperson added that the “use of private gunmen in the election campaign is a clear violation of the Electoral Code of Conduct” and therefore the “private gunmen” were arrested by the police.

The police shared video footage of a private gunman, claiming to be from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to corroborate their claims.

According to police sources, “supporters of Malik Nawaz Awan clashed with the police during their attempt to arrest private gunmen.”

Furthermore, the police assert that “the impression of a raid on the PTI office is not correct. The action was taken due to the presence of armed men.”

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