Islamabad, May 24 Despite the PML-N claiming that it would allow the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) to march on Islamabad as long as the procession remained peaceful, the government has launched a crackdown.
The government action, which came after a high-powered party meeting at Model Town, chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and attended by his elder brother Nawaz via video link, also resolved that the government would not be dictated by ousted premier Imran Khan’s demand for early elections, Dawn news reported.
PML-N elders, however, directed the interior minister to make all kinds of preparations to deal with the PTI’s long march.
The PTI leadership had earlier claimed the government has prepared a list of those it intends to arrest to scuttle the protest, Dawn reported.
The opposition party’s fears were realised late on Monday night, when despite assurances that their leaders will not be targeted or arrested ahead of the planned march on the capital, police raided the residences of several key PTI figures.
On Sunday, Khan had announced the PTI’s plans to hold an ‘Azadi March’ in Islamabad on Wednesday, reportedly after talks with the establishment over early polls fell flat.
There were reports of late-night police action at the homes of former federal minister Hammad Azhar in Lahore, while the Lal Haveli residence of Sheikh Rashid Ahmed as well as the homes of Fayyazul Hasan Chohan and Ijaz Khan Jazi in Rawalpindi were also raided.
In addition, former information minister Fawad Chaudhry also claimed in a tweet that his home in Islamabad was under observation, which was why he had left for Jhelum.