- Imran Khan says movement is peaceful, non-violent protest.
- Says it is against “cabal of crooks” for bringing economic meltdown.
- Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Asad Umar decide to surrender themselves.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan announced that the “Jail Bharo Tehreek (court arrest movement)” is set to kick off today, with hopes to counter the “attack on constitutionally-guaranteed fundamental rights” and the “economic meltdown” by the incumbent government.
Taking to Twitter, the former prime minister said that the PTI is set to start the Jail Bharo campaign for two main reasons.
“One, it is a peaceful, non-violent protest against the attack on our constitutionally-guaranteed fundamental rights. We are facing sham FIRs and NAB cases, custodial torture, attacks on journalists and social media people,” wrote the PTI chief.
Khan went on to say that the second is against the economic meltdown brought on by a “cabal of crooks who have money laundered billions in looted wealth and gotten NROs for themselves while crushing the people, especially, the poor and the middle class, under the burden of spiralling inflation and rising unemployment.”
Separately, to refresh the party workers’ zeal for the court arrest movement, Khan released a video message, urging them to “fill up prisons and shatter the idols of fear”.
He called on all Pakistanis to join the movement to achieve “Haqeeqi Azadi”.
The PTI chief, in the wake of sedition cases filed against his party leaders including Fawad Chaudhry, Azam Swati and Shahbaz Gill, had announced the movement on February 4.
In the first phase of the movement, the party’s senior leaders — Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Asad Umar — voluntarily decided to surrender themselves to the authorities on Tuesday.
‘200 workers to voluntarily surrender’
PTI Lahore chapter President Imtiaz Shaikh had announced that former Punjab governor Omer Sarfraz Cheema, Waleed Iqbal, Murad Raas, Muhammad Khan Madni, and Fawad Rasool, accompanied by 200 workers will voluntarily surrender themselves to the authorities in the metropolis.
He had said the movement will start from Lahore’s Charing Cross at 2pm.
Govt to scrutinise arrested workers
The provincial government decided that the criminal history, tax and bank records of people arrested under the PTI’s court arrest drive will be thoroughly scrutinised. If anyone is found involved in corruption or criminal cases, immediate action will be triggered against them, said the sources.
Sources privy to the Punjab government said that all the law-enforcement agencies have been mobilised in the run-up to the PTI’s movement.
The jails in the provincial capital are brimming to capacity with no room for more prisoners, according to sources. Hence, the arrested individuals will have to be sent to jails in other cities like Mianwali and DG Khan jails, said the sources.
In a meeting chaired by Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, a decision has been made that women and poor workers would not be detained during the PTI movement.
Deputy Minister of Information Marriyum Aurangzeb said this is the world’s first court arrest movement.
Movement aimed at creating ‘political instability’
Earlier, Sanaullah had said that the PTI’s court arrest drive was aimed at creating political instability, and a law and order situation in the country.
Chairing a meeting on law and order, he had said the PTI wanted to get media attention by creating drama. “The miscreants should be exposed by presenting evidence of their wrongdoings before the masses,” he had added.
In the meeting, it was decided that the miscreants would be arrested and law and order would be ensured in the country at all costs. The arrest of women and poor workers would be avoided, it was decided.
Sanaullah said the record of miscreants would be maintained and their activities would be mentioned in their character certificates.