ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah has said that although Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s arrest is not on the cards, the ex-prime minister’s statements are forcing him to think otherwise.
“At this moment, I am not in favour of having Imran arrested. However, when [I hear] the kind of statements that he’s making, I am forced to think that he should be arrested,” Sanaullah told journalists on Friday in London.
“He should be arrested once so that we can witness the kind of storm he claims of wanting to unleash,” the interior minister said, who Khan has blamed for being involved in his Wazirabad assassination bid. However, the minister has categorically rejected the allegations.
Sanaullah also said that the first information report (FIR) — which includes a sedition charge — against PTI Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry was not objectionable.
“The people who are claiming that the case was made for victimisation should read the FIR. They’ll get to know that the election commission had it registered,” Sanaullah noted.
“The election commission took action against Fawad Chaudhry after he spoke against it,” the interior minister said.
Fawad, a former federal minister, was arrested from his Lahore residence in the wee hours of Wednesday after he publicly “threatened” the members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and their families in a media talk a day earlier.
He was then taken to Islamabad, where the capital’s police were granted a two-day remand of the PTI leader in the sedition case. His arrest drew strong criticism within the federal government’s ranks — which, although, has denied involvement.
Today, a court in Islamabad sent him on a 14-day judicial remand after it rejected the police’s plea for an extension in physical.
Senior politicians — including Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leaders Raza Rabbani and Farhatullah Babar and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Musadik Malik — have deplored the sedition charge levelled against Fawad and demanded that they be dropped immediately.
The minister, in the conversation with journalists, added that he has held several meetings with PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and will be leaving for Pakistan today.
He added that after directions from the party elder, PML-N Senior Vice President Maryam Nawaz would commence the election campaign in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) from February 1.
At a recent meeting in London, Nawaz assigned tasks related to Punjab’s politics to Sanaullah and also instructed the interior minister to mobilise party workers in the province for the upcoming elections.
Maryam, who is in London currently, is scheduled to come back to Pakistan along with Sanaullah.
The elections are expected to take place in the next three months after former Punjab chief minister Parvez Elahi dissolved the provincial assembly earlier this month.