At least “81 party followers,” including some of its high brass, were picked up by the police on the first day of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI”Jail)’s Bharo Tehreek” after they threatened arrest near Charing Cross on The Mall on Wednesday. They were then taken to Kot Lakhpat jail.
Party members travelled to Charing Cross through Prison Road in a convoy led by Dr. Yasmin Rashid. There, they held a sit-in and screamed anti-federal and anti-Punjab protests.
Social media videos showed a sizable PTI workforce congregating at the location of the sit-in in front of the Punjab Assembly.
اس آزادی سے بہتر ہے،— PTI (@PTIofficial) February 22, 2023
جیل چلو، اور خوف کے بت توڑو! #جیل_بھرو_خوف_کے_بت_توڑو
Also, PTI employees carried a “dummy jail” to Charing Cross. Several employees spoke to reporters while standing inside the cage about the party’s stance on the movement.
Also, a police officer was spotted inviting PTI employees to board a jail van if they wished to turn themselves in while carrying a loudspeaker. PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Secretary General Asad Umar, Former Governor Omar Sarfraz Cheema, Former Minister Murad Raas, Senator Azam Swati, and Senator Walid Iqbal could all be seen in another video that PTI workers shared sitting in a prison van after they allegedly forced their way through.
On Ferozepur Road, as they travelled to the prison, some ardent PTI workers could be seen perched atop the prison van.
“Top brass behind bars”
PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said on Twitter that numerous PTI officials, including Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Asad Umar, and Ejaz Chaudhry, “surrendered themselves” to the authorities.
The “sea of people had produced panic,” he said, among the police officers stationed on patrol on The Mall.
Speaking from inside the police vehicle, Mr. Qureshi said: “I am ‘glad and content,’ and I urge the populace to break free of dread and venture out.”
In an earlier speech, Mr. Qureshi urged the workers on Jail Road to be prepared for the noble cause PTI has been advancing. He claimed that Imran Khan had prevented him from requesting an arrest but that since he was a well-known leader and was expected to take the initiative, he would travel to Charing Cross and request one.
Apart from a single instance where PTI members allegedly damaged a police van’s windscreen, the whole rally was calm.
Number of arrests
It’s unclear how many people have been arrested. While the Punjab government was notified by the police that at least 81 PTI members were imprisoned at Kot Lakhpat, PTI spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry stated that 500 to 700 party members were courting arrest.
Independent estimations, however, indicate that police detained at least 200 people.
Many employees and leaders also travelled to Kot Lakhpat Prison in private automobiles to surrender. The jail’s main entrance was being watched by a substantial police presence.
Contrary to earlier statements made by PML-N leaders, including Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, the government did prepare to arrest PTI workers when they were detained.
Tallal Chaudhry and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah had asserted that the government had decided against detaining PTI workers. But authorities detained over 80 employees and leaders and transferred them to a 16 MPO prison.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Talal Chaudhry stated that the government would not detain any PTI members in accordance with Imran Khan’s intentions.
“Imran wants the children of this county to go to jail. His own children are in London. We don’t have any plans to arrest PTI employees, he declared, requesting that PTI chairman instead applies for a court order for his people to be detained.
A spokeswoman for the Punjabi government stated that the administration had mandated legal action against several people for violating Section 144. He claimed that PSL matches led to the implementation of Section 144 in several parts of the city, allowing for thorough security preparations prior to the arrival of PSL cricket teams in Lahore.
According to the spokesman, members of a political party held a protest on The Mall, shouted protest signs, and “forcefully boarded a police van.”
Imran Khan, PTI Chairman, stated the movement was started for “true freedom” when discussing it.
Mr. Khan described the movement as a non-violent, non-violent protest against the violation of people’s constitutionally protected fundamental rights in a series of tweets.
Today we start our Jail Bharo campaign for Haqeeqi Azadi for 2 main reasons. One, it is a peaceful, non violent protest against the attack on our constitutionally-guaranteed fundamental rights.We are facing sham FIRs & NAB cases, custodial torture, attacks on journalists & social— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) February 22, 2023
He noted that “we are dealing with fabricated FIRs and NAB cases, mistreatment in detention, and assaults on journalists and social media users.” “It is against the economic meltdown brought on by a cabal of crooks, who have money laundered billions in looted wealth and gotten NROs for themselves while crushing people, especially the poor and middle class, under the burden of spiraling inflation and rising unemployment,” Mr. Khan said when elaborating on the second reason for the movement.