Police deny, says presence of private ‘gunmen in violation of Electoral Code of Conduct’
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has strongly condemned a “raid” at its Lahore PP168 constituency candidate Malik Nawaz Awan’s office that occurred late Tuesday night.
Video footages of the incident have since surfaced on social media where police can be seen arresting personnel at the event.
The PTI Senator Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry termed the event “police harassment” of the candidate and urged the officials “not to become personal slaves of Hamza Shehbaz” – the current Punjab chief minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader.
Senior PTI leader Dr Yasmin Rashid echoed the same concerns, as she called on the Punjab police to “stop open bullying”.
Another PTI leader Andalib Abbas has expressed concerns that “police are sabotaging peaceful elections by bullying [PTI]”.
Meanwhile, party senior leader Farrukh Habib has alleged that the incident occurred as a result of “fears of defeat” on part of the provincial government.
“Police cannot demoralise PTI workers with its clever tactics,” added the PTI information secretary for Central Punjab.
“IG Punjab should take immediate notice and release the guards and marriage hall owner immediately,” said Senator Ijaz Chaudhry.
The by-elections in 20 Punjab constituencies are to be held on July 17.
‘No raid at PTI candidate’s office’
Contrary to the PTI’s claims, the Lahore Police have denied the incident saying: “Police did not raid any PTI candidate’s office.”
“Private armed men were accompanied by gunmen from another province in a corner meeting with the PTI candidate Malik Nawaz Awan in a private market,” said the Lahore Police Operations Wing spokesperson.
The spokesperson added that the “use of private gunmen in the election campaign is a clear violation of the Electoral Code of Conduct” and therefore the “private gunmen” were arrested by the police.
The police shared video footage of a private gunman, claiming to be from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to corroborate their claims.
According to police sources, “supporters of Malik Nawaz Awan clashed with the police during their attempt to arrest private gunmen.”
Furthermore, the police assert that “the impression of a raid on the PTI office is not correct. The action was taken due to the presence of armed men.”
Courtesy : Express Tribune