No sit-in, PTI will only hold rally in Islamabad; Dr Yasmin Rashid, Andaleeb Abbas freed after brief detention

ISLAMABAD: The PTI has reached an understanding with the government that the party will only hold a rally in the federal capital and not stage sit-in as earlier announced, Geo News reported Wednesday.

Sources told Geo News that both sides reached the agreement after negotiations continued for two and half hours. Sources added that two PTI leaders participate in talks with the government.

Dr Yasmin Rashid and Andaleeb Abbas detained 

Police also detained two female PTI leaders — Dr Yasmin Rashid and Andaleeb Abbas — during a crackdown in Lahore for violating Section 144 imposed in Punjab.   

But shortly after, they were released.

They were arrested after the windscreen of Dr Yasmin Rashid’s car was broken by the police when she was leading a party caravan towards Batti Chowk, Geo News reported.

According to details, the provincial capital became a battleground where the PTI workers and police remain engaged in pitch battles in different areas amid the party’s call to reach the spot. The police fired tear gas shells when the party workers remove barriers placed to block the traffic out of the city. 

Dr Rashid was heading to Batti Chowk when she had an argument with policemen deployed to block the party workers from leaving the city.

Police personnel told the PTI leader that she can not go but she did not pay any heed and continued to drive ahead. 

At this, the police resorted to baton charge and broke the vehicle’s windscreen. However, she managed to make her way. 

The PTI’s Lahore chapter had asked its workers to gather at the Batti Chowk today from where they were to depart for Islamabad.

Several party workers were taken into custody during clashes. 

Meanwhile, in social media messages, former federal minister Hammad Azhar and Shafqat Mahmood announced that they have reached Batti Chowk.

According to Geo News, all the entry and exit points of Lahore have been sealed to stop the PTI workers ahead of the march while raids were conducted at the residences of the party leaders during which Senator Ijaz Chauhdry and Mehmoodur Rasheed were arrested.

Lahore Police have also said that arms were recovered from a local PTI leader when a police party raided his residence in the provincial capital.

Arms recovered

Meanwhile, police said that they have recovered heavy ammunition from the residences of PTI leaders Bijash Niazi and Zubair Niazi.

DIG Operations Sohail CHauhdry in a press conference shared that the raids were conducted at Nawan Kot and Multan Road areas from where three persons were arrested, however, Zuair Niazi flee from the scene.

Giving details of the arms recovered, the police officer said that six 223 bore guns, 13 rifles, 96 SMG rifles and 26 magazines of pistols.

Niazi was later arrested during clashes with police when he was going towards Batti Chowk along with former health minister Dr Yasmin Rashid. However, PTI workers managed to free him from police custody.

In a statement, Interior Minister Rana Sanullah said that the presence of ammunition at the residence of PTI Lahore’s general secretary is evidence that Imran Niazi is not doing politics, he has resorted to terrorism.

The minister asked the PTI chairman to cancel the bloody march and follow the Constitution and law. He also urged Imran Khan to remain peaceful and not use the resources and machinery of the Pakhtunkhwa government for his interests.

“This is not a peaceful political caravan but an armed invasion. We will not allow those who laid landmines and destroyed the economy. The law will be strictly enforced, whoever takes the law into his own hands will be caught.”

‘No reconciliation’

The federal government has categorically refused to hold talks with the PTI to defuse the political tension in the country.

Addressing a news conference, flanked by State Minister for Petroleum Musadik Malik in Islamabad today, Federal Minister for Power Engineer Khurram Dastgir Khan said it is the obvious stance of the government that it will not reconciliate with those who attacked the parliament, kidnap the journalists, disgraced the Masjid-e-Nabwi and passed immoral remarks against the women in the past.

The minister said that they will defend the constitutional and elected government and the rights of the common people.

Khurram Dastgir said, “the Imrani group is once again hell-bent to attack the federal capital and the constitutional government as he did in the past in the year 2014.”

He said the incumbent government, which is a broad-base and national government having representation of all the political parties will protect the fundamental rights of the people of Islamabad and the entire country while implementing the guidelines of the court’s verdict in the Faizabad sit-in in February 2019.

Speaking on this occasion, Musadik Malik said there is no shortage of Petrol in the country as we have enough oil reserves.

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