Lahore, JAN 28: PTI leader and former federal minister Hammad Azhar on Sunday said that his octogenarian father, Mian Azhar, was arrested by the Punjab police ahead of an election rally in Lahore.
The arrest comes as the PTI is set to hold its first major countrywide power show after the May 9 protests.
In a post on social media platform X, Hammad said his 82-year-old father, a PTI-backed independent candidate contesting for the February 8 elections from the NA-129 constituency, wanted to “lead a rally as per his democratic and constitutional right”.
“Pakistan has today been reduced to a total fascist state with zero human rights or rule of law. One Nawaz Sharif & his daughter calling the shots and ruining the country,” the PTI leader said.
In another post later, Hammad shared a video of his father. “We are in the office and attempts have been made to sabotage our rally, but our spirits are elevated. God willing, we will take out the rally,” Mian Azhar could be heard saying in the clip.
Dawn.com has reached out to Lahore police for a comment.
Meanwhile, the PTI termed the arrest as “highly condemnable”.
“PTI’s candidates are right now being stopped from conducting peaceful election rallies, while on the other side PML-N/PPP and other parties are free to conduct every political event,” it stated.
The party added that the “continuous policy of raiding homes, businesses of our leadership and workers is only producing damage to Pakistanis and Pakistan alone”.
On the call of founding chairman Imran Khan, ticket holders and workers of the PTI will hold their first countrywide power show, after May 9, today.
Earlier this week, Imran had directed all the ticket holders to come out in the streets and roads across the country today, warning that the tickets of those who fail to hold rallies would be cancelled.
“We have given clear direction to ticket holders to come out at 2pm and hold rallies and public meetings in their constituencies. They will address the voters and will give a message that PTI will not allow anyone to take its space,” PTI’s Central Information Secretary Raoof Hasan told Dawn earlier.
He said that a message had been conveyed to all the leadership to hold rallies across the country without fear of arrest.
“They might be arrested but we believe that it will not affect their election campaign. In fact, they may get more votes [of sympathy] as voters will be observing all what is happening with the PTI. We have also released a video message in that regard,” Hasan added.
On the other hand, PTI leader Firdous Shamim Naqvi told a virtual convention of candidates yesterday that the party would also launch its 158-page manifesto today.
On May 9, 2023, after Imran’s arrest from the Islamabad High Court, PTI workers held protests across the country. The protest, however, turned into riots with some mobs found attacking military installations.