PML-N demands release of workers arrested in crackdown

LAHORE, July 12 (INP): Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Khawaja Saad Rafique on Thursday demanded the immediate release of party workers who were arrested in a crackdown by the provincial police.

Rafique, speaking at an emergency press conference, also announced that party workers and leaders, including Shehbaz Sharif, will host a warm welcome for Nawaz Sharif on his arrival at Lahore airport on July 13.

The PML-N leader added he had no clue as to who had advised the caretaker chief minister to sanction the arrests of PML-N workers.

According to Rafique, police have been raiding and arresting PML-N workers throughout Lahore. “So far, more than 100 of our workers have been unlawfully apprehended,” he said, adding that, “the government should realize that we have no intention to create any law and order situation.”

Former speaker of the National Assembly Ayaz Sadiq also demanded the caretaker government to stop arresting PML-N workers. “Stopping the workers from welcoming Nawaz may create a law and order situation” he warned.

The responsibility for any untoward incidence will lie on those who have ordered the crackdown, he added.

“The action is taken solely at the behest of caretaker CM Hasan Askari,” Ayaz Sadiq said.

“It is beyond our comprehension who gave the idea of the unwarranted crackdown.”

Punjab police raided offices of PML-N on Wednesday night, and arrested several workers and local leaders, in what appeared to be a targeted crackdown against those workers preparing for Nawaz’s return from London.

Those taken in custody include PML-N’s Tahaffuz Aman Committee Chairman Aashir Jutt, Kahna’s Vice Chairman Mohammad Shafqat, UC-98 Chairman Muzammil Gujjar, UC-78 Chairman Syed Amir Shah Gulshan Ravi, UC-48 Chairman Chaudhry Mohammad Ali Gujjar, UC-59 Chairman Bao Muhammad Rafiq and UC-98 Chairman Muzammil Gujjar.

PML-N workers in large numbers protested by blocking roads and torching tires.