ISLAMABAD: Condemnations poured in over Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) leader Fawad Chaudhry’s arrest as political analysts, journalists and activists on Wednesday took the government to task over the arrest, questioning the logic behind the move.
Michael Kugelman – a regional political expert – slammed the government saying “if Islamabad fought inflation and debt with half as much rigor as it is fighting the opposition, it would have vanquished the economic crisis many moons ago”.
Calling out the government for arresting the senior PTI leader for “speaking boldly and challenging” the ruling coalition’s politics, prominent journalist Moeed Pirzada blamed what he termed as the “Bajwa-Nawaz-Zardari Faustian Pact-2021” for having turned Pakistan into “the worst place on earth”.
Another political analyst and journalist, Mazhar Abbas condemned the arrest saying there was “no justification” behind it.
“What have they achieved so far in cases of Azam Swati, Shahbaz Gill or in the cases against journalists?” he said, warning that “historically such actions only go against government of the day”.
PTI leaders condemn arrest
Soon after the arrest, condemnations by PTI leaders also started pouring in on Twitter.
Former interior minister Shehryar Khan Afridi took to Twitter to denounce the arrest of Fawad, arguing that the arrest in violation of fundamental rights suggested that the country had been put under martial law and the Constitution had been held in abeyance.
الیکشن کمیشن کو منشی کہنے پر فواد چوہدری کی ناقابل ضمانت دفعات کے تحت گرفتاری آئین پاکستان کی کھلی خلاف ورزی اور قانون کے منہ پر طمانچہ ہے. لگتا ہے پاکستان میں عملا مارشل لاء نافذ ہے اور آئین معطل ہوچکا. پاکستان کو تماشہ بنانے والو
اور کتنا گروگے؟ pic.twitter.com/d2rv2bGYgk
— Shehryar Afridi (@ShehryarAfridi1) January 25, 2023
Senior party leader and former human rights minister Shireen Mazari lamented over the fact that an “unarmed politician [was abducted in early hours today [and] now being escorted by this huge contingent”.
“Mohsin Naqvi doesn’t waste time to show his virulent hatred of PTI & also do his Masters bidding,” she added, calling the move “disgusting”.
Shaukat Tarin also said, “all Fawad has been asking the State Organs is to fulfill its constitutional obligations and hold free and fair elections”.
“Is that a crime in a democratic country?” he questioned.
Meanwhile, some used the opportunity to simultaneously remind the PTI of similar political persecution when the party was in power.
Activist Ammar Ali Jan, while condemning the arrest tweeted that “we were against sedition laws when PTI used them and we are against them when they are being used against PTI”.
“Sedition laws are a colonial relic meant to suppress the public,” he added, warning that “placing sedition charges on Fawad Chaudhry will only aggravate the current crisis.”
In a similar tone, a public policy professional, Mosharraf Zaidi, said that Fawad had “celebrated numerous senseless arrests and jailings of his political opponents” and that “he is now on the receiving end of this cycle of this political toxicity”.
“Shameful then and now,” he stated urging the powers that be to “stop the madness”, “release him now” and “announce elections”.