MUZAFFARGRAH: PTI leader and former federal minister Shahbaz Gill was arrested from Muzaffargarh on Monday for allegedly carrying and displaying weapons on his visit to polling stations PP-272 and PP-73 during the Punjab by-elections.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), in its election code of conduct for political parties and candidates, says: “Carriage and display of all kinds of lethal weapons and fire arms shall not be allowed in public meetings and processions and official regulations in respect thereof shall be strictly observed. Aerial firing, use of crackers and other explosives at public meetings shall not be allowed.”
The district police officer of Muzaffargarh told Dawn.com that Gill was taken into custody from a factory owned by PTI candidate Muazzam Ali along with his guards. They have been taken to an undisclosed location, he said.
Earlier, visuals circulating on television showed Gill with guards clad in Frontier Corps uniform. Prior to his arrest, the PTI leader had tweeted that he was ready to get arrested but refused to let the police take his guards or other party workers into custody.
“Before you reach anyone else, I am presenting myself for arrest,” he tweeted, claiming he was “trapped in a factory”. “Imran Khan’s soldier is not afraid of such tactics. We did not come to do terrorism.”
According to Geo News, Gill has been arrested for allegedly visiting different polling stations during the by-elections in the city with his security guards who were dressed as FC personnel.
However, Gill denied the allegations of keeping any security guards dressed up in FC officials’ uniforms. He claimed that he had been engaged for three hours and was suddenly arrested without a warrant. The politician said that he will act according to what his lawyers suggest.
Imran Khan condemns Gill’s arrest
“Strongly condemn illegal arrest of Shahbaz Gill simply to try [and] rig elections [and] spread fear in [people],” PTI Chairman Imran Khan wrote on Twitter, taking notice of the incident.
“These fascist tactics will not work [and] our [people] will not be deterred from exercising their right to vote. Handlers of imported govt should realise the damage they are doing to our nation,” he added.
High-level inquiry ordered
Commenting on the development, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said that private security companies recruit retired personnel, adding that directions have been issued to authorities concerned that all such private companies should be banned.
“I have ordered a high-level inquiry in this regard,” he said, addressing a press conference.