LAHORE: PTI leader Hammad Azhar asserted on Sunday that his father had been detained by the police for attempting to organize an election rally in Lahore before the February 8 elections.
Azhar, referring to his 82-year-old father Mian Azhar, a former Punjab governor, stated that Mian Azhar wanted to lead a rally exercising his democratic and constitutional rights, as mentioned on his X handle.
My 82 year old father arrested. He wanted to lead a rally as per his democratic and constitutional right. Pakistan has today been reduced to a total fascist state with zero human rights or rule of law. One Nawaz Sharif & his daughter calling the shots and ruining the country. pic.twitter.com/BEdx5EX60h
— Hammad Azhar (@Hammad_Azhar) January 28, 2024
Azhar alleged, “Pakistan has now become a complete fascist state, devoid of any human rights or rule of law. One Nawaz Sharif and his daughter are in control, ruining the country.”
Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) leader Farid Paracha criticized the arrest of the former Punjab governor, describing Mian Azhar as a senior politician and a respected figure.
This incident occurs as election campaigning has intensified in the country, with less than two weeks remaining until the general elections. Both the PTI and the PPP claim they are being denied a fair playing field in the elections.
The PTI, led by the incarcerated Imran Khan, faced a significant setback earlier this month when the Supreme Court upheld the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) decision to revoke its iconic bat electoral symbol due to unconstitutional intra-party polls.
Last week, the Punjab provincial government implemented Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) throughout the province due to security concerns leading up to the February 8 general elections.
The provincial home department’s notification indicated a complete ban on the display of arms and aerial firing in Punjab, the most populous province and the political heartland. Additionally, adherence to the ECP code of conduct for the upcoming polls is mandated under the imposed law.
The notification mentioned security threats, the potential for “terrorism,” and conflicts between election candidates during the ongoing campaign. Section 144 is in effect until February 12, and any violations will result in action by the authorities.
Given the rise in terror-related incidents in 2023, making it one of the worst years since 2015, doubts surround the security and safety of both candidates and voters in the upcoming elections.