Govt denies political vendetta

ISLAMABAD, May 11: Federal ministers on Wednesday defended the arrest of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan in a NAB case, saying that the government had nothing to do with the arrest as it was made in a graft case by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

Talking to the foreign media, the minister said there was no political victimization in the arrest, adding that “NAB is an independent institution”.

Police said 945 of PTI supporters had been arrested in Punjab after 25 police vehicles and more than 14 government buildings were set on fire.

“This can’t be tolerated, the law will take its course,” Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal told the news conference. “These violent attacks were not the outcome of any public outpouring, they were planned by the PTI rank and file.”

Ahsan said the PTI chairman had “chosen a path of spreading anarchy, chaos and destruction” to “protect himself from accountability.” “I want to assure there is no political vendetta,” he added.

He clarified that the arrest was made under a warrant duly examined by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that declared the custody in line with the ‘proper legal procedures and lawful authority’.

“The scenes that the media highlighted of loot and plunder are most deplorable as Khan had been lecturing the people of Pakistan about the rule of law in Western democracies.”

The planning minister said the PTI chief chose the path of spreading anarchy, chaos and destruction only to protect himself from accountability.

Climate Minister Sherry Rehman condemned the “violent reaction” of the PTI, describing it as alarming.

In a series of tweets, the minister said such a burning siege has never been seen in the country after a lawful arrest.

Minister Sherry said the attack on the residences of military officers and sensitive institutions was not a protest but an attack.

“PTI has made a sad history. Imran Khan arrested all the opponents during his regime,” she said, adding that they never reacted in the same manner.

Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said that Imran Khan was arrested in a corruption case.

In a statement, the information minister said that at least 15 notices were sent to Imran Khan in Al-Qadir Trust case which was being investigated by the NAB.

“Imran Khan was supposed to file a reply in the Al-Qadir Trust case, but he did not appear in this case,” she remarked.

She said when Imran Khan was arrested yesterday the PTI leaders instigated party workers to acts of arson and sabotage.

She maintained that whatever the PTI activists did yesterday was not a public reaction; rather it was done in a pre-planned manner.

She said that the PTI leadership today claimed that yesterday’s violent protests were not done by their party workers.

When the PTI workers were damaging public and state property yesterday, she questioned why the party leadership didn’t stop them from doing so.

The PML-N had never given the kind of response to its leaders’ arrests, that the PTI has given yesterday, she said.

Marriyum Aurangzeb said that the country had been witnessing yesterday-like activities by PTI for the past many years.

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