Pakistan arrests top tier of PTI leaders including former FM Qureshi

Pakistan government has arrested scores of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) members including top leaders such as Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Fawad Chaudhry and Asad Umar over the past 24 hours amid tightened security following countrywide protests against ex-prime minister Imran Khan’s arrest.

Qureshi was arrested in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Islamabad police spokesperson confirmed that scores of PTI leaders, including Qureshi, Umar, Fawad , Jamshed Iqbal Cheema, Falak Naz Chitrali, Mussarat Jamshed Cheema, and Maleeka Bukhari, were arrested, Geo TV reported.

“All arrests were carried out after completing the legal requirements,” the spokesperson said, warning that more arrests are expected.

Former foreign minister Qureshi, who is Khan’s deputy, had earlier expressed his shock over around 50 casualties in protests that erupted after the arrest of Khan in Islamabad.

He noted that a worthwhile cause requires sacrifices and the PTI and its workers will continue their struggle for such a worthy cause.

“All organizations, ticket holders, office-holders are requested not to lose heart and stay put in the field,” he advised party cadres. “We have not taken the law into our hands before, and we will not do so in the future as well.”

When police arrived at his home, he recorded a statement, saying: “According to my information, the police have come to arrest me. I want to leave a message.”

“The Tehreek-e-Insaf is a movement for real freedom, and everybody has contributed to it,” he stressed.

“Khan entrusted me with this responsibility. I have been trying to fulfill this responsibility, and I have shared it to the best of my ability.”

Qureshi asked PTI workers to keep up their struggle for real freedom. “Remain on your marks in this great cause until Khan is released,” he asserted.

Geo TV reported that on Wednesday, the top tier of PTI leadership, including PTI’s Secretary General Umar, ex-governor Omer Sarfraz Cheema and party’s Senior Vice President Fawad, was arrested.

PTI’s senior leader Asad Umar was rounded up from the premises of the Islamabad High Court.

According to reports, nearly 1,000 PTI workers, including Cheema and Fawad have been arrested.

According to police, so far, 1,386 PTI workers have been arrested in Punjab on the charges of vandalism, violence and arson of public and private properties.