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Pakistan arrests senior chief from ex-PM Imran Khan’s celebration

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Police in Pakistan arrested early Wednesday a senior chief of former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s political celebration on expenses of threatening the chief of the elections overseeing physique and different authorities officers.

The arrest of Fawad Chaudhry, an outspoken critic of the federal government, is a significant setback for the celebration, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, by which he serves as vp. The celebration rapidly condemned the arrest and demanded his launch from him.

Khan additionally denounced the arrest, claiming on Twitter that it left little question that Pakistan has develop into a spot “devoid of rule of legislation.” He urged followers to “arise for our elementary rights” to forestall the nation from drifting in the direction of “a degree of no return.”

The arrest passed off throughout a predawn raid at Chaudhry’s home in Lahore, the capital of jap Punjab province, his household stated. Shireen Mazari, a spokesperson for Khan’s celebration, stated Chaudhry was taken in handcuffs straight to court docket by police in Lahore.

Chaudhry’s spouse, Hiba Fawad, informed reporters that safety forces have been tough along with her husband, pushed him right into a car and whisked him away.

“There’s a process to observe if you wish to arrest somebody,” she stated. “It can’t occur that ten or twelve folks enter a home, detain somebody, throw him right into a car and take him away with out telling the household the place they’re taking him.”

Footage launched later by the celebration confirmed Chaudhry’s supporters gathered on the court docket and throwing rose petals at him as police led him towards a courtroom.

Angered over his arrest, lots of of Chaudhry’s supporters blocked a key freeway in Jehlum, his dwelling metropolis in Punjab province, to demand his launch.

In a press release, Islamabad police stated Chaudhry was arrested on a criticism from the Election Fee of Pakistan on expenses of threatening the top of the elections overseeing physique, Sikandar Sultan Raja, and different officers. The threats have been meant to forestall them from performing their duties and incite folks to violence in opposition to them, police stated.

Data Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb later Wednesday claimed Chaudhry’s arrest was not political and that he’s not a case of “political victimization.”″

Chaudhry was arrested after publicly threatening election officers—and even members of their households, she stated. “This arrest was made on a criticism from the election fee,” Aurangzeb stated.

“If we had any intention to make political arrests, we’d have arrested Imran Khan, however we had no such intention,” she stated.

On Tuesday, Chaudhry criticized the elections overseeing physique for appointing a veteran journalist, Mohsin Naqvi, as caretaker chief minister in Punjab. Khan’s celebration and its allies have been in energy in Punjab and held majority seats within the provincial meeting however dissolved the home earlier this month, a transfer that apparently sought to strain the federal government in Islamabad.

The dissolution of the provincial meeting set in movement snap elections, which below the structure are to be held inside 90 days.

Chaudhry additionally informed reporters Tuesday that Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s authorities may arrest Khan at any time. Khan, who stays fashionable with an enormous grassroots following, was ousted in a no-confidence vote in Parliament final April and has been main the opposition since.

A former cricket star turned Islamist politician, Khan was wounded in a gun assault whereas main a rally in the direction of the capital, Islamabad, final November. One in every of Khan’s supporters was killed and several other others have been wounded within the taking pictures.

In October, the elections fee disqualified Khan from holding public workplace for 5 years after discovering he had unlawfully offered state presents and hid belongings as premier. Khan denies the cost and has filed a movement with a court docket to problem the fee.

Khan has additionally claimed that he was toppled in a plot by Sharif and Washington, claims they each deny.

Together with the provincial meeting in Punjab, Khan’s allies earlier this month additionally dissolved the legislature in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, the place Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf additionally had majority seats. The celebration has demanded early federal elections, which Sharif’s authorities has rejected, saying the vote might be held as scheduled later this yr.

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