Opposition leader Shibli Faraz condemns govt actions against PTI

On Friday, Shibli Faraz, the opposition leader in the Senate, strongly criticised the government for its actions against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, claiming these were carried out “under their watch.”

Allegations of fascism and oppression

In a heated Senate session, Faraz expressed his outrage over the recent demolition of a section of PTI’s central secretariat building in Islamabad by local authorities and the police. The authorities justified their actions by citing violations of building bylaws. “The fascism, oppression, violence that you have begun [is ongoing] and this is all happening under your watch,” Faraz declared, visibly furious.

Raid on PTI office

The incident took place late Thursday night, when Islamabad police and local authorities demolished part of the PTI office and subsequently sealed the premises. PTI responded by filing a complaint against 35 officials involved in the raid, noting that the action was executed in the presence of a United Nations delegation.

Faraz further alleged that during the raid, PTI workers were subjected to baton charges and the head of the party’s Islamabad chapter, Amir Mughal, was arrested. He emphasised that political force would not succeed in silencing the PTI. “You cannot do politics by force. You can take away our party symbol, jail our chairman, demolish our offices, raid our homes but cannot erase the affection for Imran Khan from the hearts of the majority of 250 million people of this country,” he asserted.

Criticism of govt’s legitimacy

Faraz criticised the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)-led coalition government, claiming they only secured 27 seats in the National Assembly in the February 8 general elections and suggesting they came to power on a “stolen mandate.” He argued that their recent actions were generating hatred rather than support from the Pakistani populace. “Through these actions and tactics, you are not winning the hearts of Pakistanis or your voters [but] creating hatred,” he added.

Economic instability

Faraz also pointed to the country’s economic difficulties, attributing them to the current political instability. He urged colleagues on the treasury benches to join the PTI in condemning the raid, suggesting that failure to do so would imply endorsement of such actions.

Government’s response

In response, Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar defended the actions taken against the PTI office, stating they were in line with legal requirements. He mentioned that the Capital Development Authority (CDA) had been instructed to expedite actions against encroachments. “Multiple notices were sent to remind you that you have constructed two floors without a map and approval and have placed containers and set up a parking shed in a public area,” Tarar explained, adding that the final notice was issued on May 10.

Addressing Faraz’s claim that he was verbally attacking the judiciary, Tarar took serious exception to the remark, insisting that his actions were lawful and justified.

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