PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry was arrested outside his residence in Lahore in the early hours of Wednesday, according to his family.
“He was taken away from outside his house at 5:30am in four cars that did not have any number plates,” Faisal Chaudhry, the PTI leader’s brother, told Dawn.com over the phone.
He said that the family was unaware of Fawad’s location. “We are also not being given any details of the FIR (first information report) registered against him.”
Faisal termed his brother’s arrest “illegal” and asserted that he will fight this battle in court.
Fawad’s arrest comes an hour after he, along with scores of party workers, gathered outside PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s Zaman Park residence in Lahore, claiming to avert the government’s alleged plan to arrest the party chief.
An official PTI Twitter account also posted a couple of videos, showing a convoy of police vehicles which the party claimed was carrying Chaudhry after his arrest.
A first information report has been registered against the PTI leader at the Kohsar police station in Islamabad on the complaint of Secretary of the Election Commission Umar Hameed.
The complaint — a copy of which is available with Dawn.com — invokes sections 153-A (promotion of enmity between groups), 506 (criminal intimidation), 505 (statement conducing to public mischief) and 124-A (sedition) of the Pakistan Penal Code at Islamabad’s Kohsar Police Station.
It stated that Chaudhry, in a speech outside PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s house, threatened the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and said that “those who become part of the caretaker government [in Punjab] will be pursued until they are punished”.
Later in a tweet, the Islamabad police said that Fawad tried to “incite violence against a constitutional institution” and “inflame the sentiments of the people”.
It added that the case will be processed as per the law.
Earlier today, PTI leader Farrukh Habib confirmed that Fawad was taken into custody from his residence. “This imported government has gone berserk,” he tweeted.
Meanwhile, former federal minister Hammad Azhar said Fawad had been taken to the counter-terrorism department’s regional office in Lahore, as PTI leader Ali Muhammad Khan said that he is not a terrorist.
Former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Fawad’s arrest was a “strong slap on the face of democracy and rule of law”.
PTI’s Ali Zaidi also strongly condemned the arrest of the senior party leader and said the government was “hell-bent on pushing this country towards anarchy!”
“Pakistan has become a lawless state at the hands of these lawbreaking lawmakers and corrupt law enforcement officers,” Zaidi tweeted.