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PDM chief calls to block all road after police storms the parliament lodges

The private force had gathered in the parliament lodges two days after the opposition submitted a vote of no confidence against Prime Minister Imran Khan. Pakistan People's Party, Pakistan Muslim League, and JUI have all joined hands in this bid against the incumbent government.

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The opposition parties lashed out at the government on 10 March following Islamabad police’s operation inside the Parliament Lodges after reports arose that members of the Ansarul Islam, a uniformed volunteer force, entered the lodges. The police allegedly arrested 19 individuals, including two Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam’s (JUI’s) sitting members of the National Assembly, Salahuddin Ayubi and Maulana Jamal-ud-Din.

According to a tweet by the capital police, Inspector General Ahsan Younis took notice of Ansarul Islam’s presence inside the parliament lodges, and under his directives, the officials in charge at D-Chowk, under whose duty the force entered the lodges were suspended. Subsequently, the Inspector General personally led the operation.

JUI claims that the volunteers were, in fact, their guests and had all the right to stay with them inside the Parliament Lodges. On the contrary, Sheikh Rasheed, the interior minister, said that police had arrested 19 members of a “private militia.” He further added that 70 workers of the Ansarul Islam were inside the lodges and that the government had to take action because the other party was not cooperating. “People were hidden inside the lodges,” he said. “We still wanted the matter to be resolved peacefully … but they beat and locked up police officials and did not hand over Ansarul Islam members.”

It is pertinent to mention that all private militias were dissolved in 2019, and henceforth, no one is allowed to have such a force at their disposal.

Talking about the arrests of the two sitting members of the National Assembly, Rasheed added that they had not been arrested, but rather they were “refusing to leave” the SHO’s office.

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Members of the opposition parties have recorded their protest against the government’s use of force, terming it “illegal” and a means to “harass” the political parties ahead of the vote of the no-confidence motion, which is likely to be conducted in the coming week in the lower house.

Oppositions uproar

Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman, called his party workers to gather at the capital. “I want to tell my party workers to either reach Islamabad or block roads in their cities and resist this incompetent govt,” he added.

Leader of the opposition Shehbaz Sharif condemned the operation, terming it as open “bullying”.

Pakistan Muslim League-N leader also condemned the use of force and asked the government to refrain from the use of police force as a “tool” to achieve its political objectives. She added that Imran Khan was going down a murky road that could have severe repercussions.

Peoples party co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari said, “Police officers and administration should not follow illegal orders of puppets,” he said. He urged the lawmakers to keep their spirits high.

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The private force had gathered in the parliament lodges two days after the opposition submitted a vote of no confidence against Prime Minister Imran Khan. Pakistan People’s Party, Pakistan Muslim League, and JUI have all joined hands in this bid against the incumbent government.