Pakistan police arrest opposition leader on sedition charges

Multan, Pakistan, Jan 25 (EFE).- Police in Pakistan arrested a leader of former prime minister Imran Khan’s party on sedition charges from his residence in Lahore early Wednesday.

The Islamabad police said that a case was registered against Fawad Chaudhry at the Kohsar police station on the request of the secretary of the Election Commission of Pakistan.

“Fawad Chaudhry has tried to incite violence against constitutional institutions and provoke people against them,” the police said in a statement posted on Twitter.

The case was being processed according to the country’s laws, the police added.

According to the statement, Chaudhry, senior vice president of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, also threatened the Chief Election Commissioner and other members of the election body in an attempt to prevent them from performing their duties.

Chaudhary’s brother, Faisal Hussain, confirmed his arrest, which he described as unconstitutional.

Hussain said on Twitter that Chaudhry was “illegally picked up from his house in Lahore by unknown persons in vehicles without number plates.”

“The abductors neither showed arrest warrants nor revealed their identities,” he added.

After his arrest, Chaudhry was taken by counter terrorism police officers to a court in Lahore.

The First Information Report (FIR) registered at the police station invokes sections 153-A, dealing with the promotion of enmity between groups, 506, on criminal intimidation, 505, on statements conducing to public mischief, and 124-A, on sedition, of the Pakistan Penal Code.

According to the FIR, in a speech outside PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s house in Lahore, Chaudhry threatened the ECP by saying “those who become part of the caretaker government [in Punjab] will be pursued until they are punished.”

Mohsin Naqvi, the owner of a media house and a staunch critic of PTI, took oath as caretaker chief minister of Punjab on Sunday night after the ECP appointed him to oversee elections in the province.

The Punjab assembly was dissolved during the month by PTI in a bid to put pressure on the central government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to hold early general elections in the country.

Naqvi’s videos and photos with the current and former army chiefs, General Asim Munir and General Qamar Bajwa respectively, have also been recently circulating on social media, signaling his links with the country’s powerful military.

Khan was ousted in a vote of no-confidence in April last year.

He has accused General Bajwa of facilitating what he calls a “regime change operation,” orchestrated by the United States to topple his government.

Washington has denied Khan’s allegations.

Since then, Khan has blamed the establishment for stopping him from coming to power again.

In a series of large public gatherings during recent months, Khan has vowed to get “real freedom” for the people.

Advocating civil supremacy, he has said the country’s decisions should be made by the representatives of the people in the parliament, not behind closed doors.

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