PML-N leader Hanif Abbasi on Tuesday said denounced the arrests of around 250 party leaders in relation to a case against PML-N's rally in Rawalpindi.
Leaders of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) were arrested after a case was registered against party supremo's son-in-law Captain (retired) Safdar Awan and along with 15 others for violating the Punjab Regulation and Control of Loudspeakers and Sound Amplifiers Ordinance 1965 on Monday. Among the arrested party leaders was Rawalpindi Mayor Sardar Naseem's close aid Gul Faraz Jadoon.
"The police has arrested around 250 PML-N leaders. I am ready to be arrested too...I am not one who will flee," Abbasi said. "But make an announcement if Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has been set up to win election from Rawalpindi."
PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif also condemned the arrests of party workers. "Arrests like these are condemnable efforts to drive party into a narrow alley," he said.
The former Punjab chief minister further said arrests of around 250 party leaders raised questions over the transparency of the upcoming polls. Shehbaz requested the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to immediately take notice of the issue.
Captain (retd) Safdar's arrest
Captain (retired) Safdar, who was absconding after the Avenfield Properties corruption reference verdict, had arrived at a PML-N rally at Liaquat Road on Friday. He then disembarked from a vehicle and joined supporters amid cheers.
PML-N leaders Senator Chaudhry Tanveer and Malik Shakeel Awan, among others, brought Safdar into their fold and delayed the latter's arrest as a NAB team made efforts to take custody of the convict. Captain (retd) Safdar delivered a speech, as the NAB team attempted to arrest him.
According to the case, registered in the Waris Khan Police Station by SHO Muhammad Arham, PML-N leaders and workers are accused of violating the code of conduct prescribed by ECP for the upcoming polls along with the Amplifiers Ordinance.
NAB finally arrests Safdar after he appears at PML-N rally in Rawalpindi
Among those accused are two PML-N candidates contesting the General Election 2018 for seats in the provincial assembly, while one of the accused leaders is contesting the polls from a National Assembly constituency. PML-N leaders Chaudhry Tanveer, Daniyal Chaudhry, Raja Haneef, Sheikh Arsalan, and Ziaullah Shah have been named in the petition along with hundreds of unknown persons.
The case has been registered under Sections 149, 147, 188, 341, and 3/7 of the Amplifier Act.