Fawad Chaudhry, a leader in Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf was reportedly arrested in Lahore in the early hours of Wednesday, 25 January.
PTI leader Farrukh Habib told Pakistani news outlet Dawn that police took Chaudhry into custody from his residence.
The arrest came shortly after the former federal minister publicly criticised Pakistan’s government for plotting to arrest former prime minister Imran Khan.
The report added that an FIR was registered against Chaudhry under the Pakistan Penal Code’s sections 153-A (promoting enmity between groups), 505(statement conducing to public mischief), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 124-A (sedition) at Islamabad’s Kosher Police Station.
Earlier in the day, Chaudhry’s brother, Faisal, told Dawn that he was “taken away” in four cars without number plates at 5:30 am and added that the family was unaware of Fawad’s location.
“We are also not being given any details of the FIR registered against him.” Calling the arrest “illegal,” Faisal asserted that the battle will be fought in court.
Soon after rumours of Imran Khan’s impending arrest spread, PTI leaders and party workers gathered outside the former PM’s residence in large numbers, in Lahore’s Zaman Park in the wee hours of Wednesday.
Raising slogans in support of Khan, the supporters vowed their unwavering loyalty to their leader, even if that meant risking their own lives, Geo News said.
The PTI’s official Twitter account posted a series of videos which showed a convoy of police vehicles, and the party claimed that the convoy was carrying Chaudhry following his arrest.
In a tweet, the Islamabad police said that Chaudhry attempted to “incite violence against a constitutional institution” and further “inflame the sentiments of the people”.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that Chaudhry’s arrest was a “strong slap on the face of democracy and rule of law”.
Chaudhry’s arrest further deepens the political divide in Pakistan where the Imran Khan-led Opposition is demanding snap polls, while general elections are due only after August.
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