ISLAMABAD, May 12 : Two more senior Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders Dr Yasmin Rashid and Dr Shireen Mazari were arrested in Lahore and Islamabad, respectively, in the wee hours of Friday morning.
The arrests are the latest in an ongoing crackdown against the party leadership.
Top PTI leaders, including Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Fawad Chaudhry, Asad Umar and Omer Cheema, were taken into custody within 24 hours and transferred to Adiala Jail under detention for 15 days following countrywide protests against former prime minister Imran Khan’s arrest.
Qureshi was arrested in the wee hours of Thursday after the police raided Gilgit-Baltistan House in Islamabad under Section 3 of Maintenance of Public Order (MPO).
The security personnel rounded up over 1,800 PTI leaders and supporters since the protests began on Tuesday when Imran was arrested from the Islamabad High Court (IHC) premises. However, the Supreme Court ordered his immediate release on Thursday evening in the Al-Qadir Trust case.
The Islamabad police spokesperson had confirmed the arrests, adding that Imran’s spokesperson Musarrat Jamshed Cheema, her husband Jamshed Cheema, Malika Bukhari and Senator Falaknaz had also been taken into custody under Section 3 of the MPO and transferred to Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi under 15-day detention.
However, the arrests of Dr Yasmin Rashid and Dr Shireen Mazari have come after the country witnessed a break in the violent protests last night as the PTI hailed the Supreme Court’s verdict to release their party chairman.
“The leadership of the PTI will decide the next political course of action after consultation. The PTI believes in peaceful political struggle. The PTI hopes that all institutions will strictly follow the orders of the Supreme Court and take care of the security of chairman Imran Khan,” a statement issued by the PTI said.
Details of PTI’s Senior Vice President Shireen Mazari’s arrest still remain unclear.
The party issued a statement on social media condemning the arrest but did not provide further information on the issue.
A former PTI lawmaker Kanwal Shauzab said that “50 Islamabad police personnel raided Shireen’s house at 3 am and arrested her. She is a brave leader of the PTI and a patriotic Pakistani and this is the crime for which she has been taken into custody”.
PTI leader Andalib Abbas revealed that Dr Yasmin Rashid was hiding in Defense or Cavalry Ground and she was abducted at 6:30 in the morning.
She said that her colleague had been absent from her home for several days due to police raids.
“Two days ago, Dr Yasmin Rashid’s 80-year-old husband and 76-year-old brother-in-law were also arrested from their family residence,” she said.
While the brother-in-law still remains in custody, Dr Yasmin Rashid’s husband has been released due to his poor health, the PTI leader said.
“Forty to 50 people came with four to five vehicles to arrest Dr Yasmin,” Abbas added.
It may be noted that Dr Yasmin was to make her way to Islamabad with other party workers ahead of Imran Khan’s hearing.
Notably, the PTI chief is scheduled to appear before the IHC at 11:00 am for the SC-mandated hearing of his writ petition filed to challenge the NAB action against him in the Al-Qadir Trust Case.