PTI: Police on Saturday baton-charged and arrested several PTI workers across the country as they assembled to protest the alleged rigging in the general elections.

In Multan, police arrested six PTI activists and shifted them to the Cantonment Police Station. When PTI Women Wing leader Qurban Fatima reached the police station for their release, police also arrested her.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf workers had gathered in front of the Multan Press Club to stage a protest against rigged elections. Some of them dispersed when police started to encircle them. A large contingent of police was deployed outside the press club to avert any untoward situation. PTI workers had started gathering in front of the press club, responding to a countrywide protest call. The workers led by Zahid Bahar Hashmi, the son-in-law of senior politician Javed Hashmi, chanted slogans against the alleged rigging in the elections and demanded a transparent inquiry.

Those arrested are Ali Muhammad, Malik Amir, Hafiz Muhammad Haroon, Muhammad Ashraf, Qurban Fatima and Rao Muhammad Zeeshan.

Earlier, speaking on the occasion, Zahid Bahar Hashmi said foreign and domestic observers and stakeholders had raised concerns over alleged electoral interference and detention of political activists. He said all accusations of irregularities, manipulation and fraudulent activities warranted investigations. He said they had verified data and found large discrepancies in Form 45s and 47s.

The PTI workers also carried out protest rallies against alleged rigging in the 2024 general elections in Karachi, Thatta, Jamshoro and Hyderabad.

PTI Sindh President Haleem Adil Sheikh, flanked by other party, leaders travelled to Thatta, Dhabeji, Gharo, Jamshoro, Kotri, Hyderabad and Karachi, delivering speeches to his party workers. He said that on the call of PTI founding chairman Imran Khan, people all over the country were protesting on the streets against the theft of their mandate. Protests are being held outside press clubs in big and small cities of Sindh and other provinces. He said 22 National Assembly (NA) seats from Sindh, 20 from Karachi and two from Hyderabad, which belonged to the PTI were stolen through fake Form 47. “We have won 38 provincial assembly seats from Sindh and similarly we won 183 NA seats across the country, the result of which was changed and fabricated,” he claimed. “The nation has acquitted Imran Khan of all cases by giving him the majority vote,” he said, adding that the government formed against the decisions of the nation would not be acceptable to anyone.

In Lahore, PTI supporters staged demonstrations against “rigging” in the February 8 general elections amid clashes with police. They staged protests in areas including Shahdara, GPO Chowk and outside the Commissioner’s Office. At one demonstration, police baton-charged and arrested PTI workers, including Mian Shehzad Farooq.

Earlier in the day, Deputy Inspector General (DIG), Operations, Ali Nasir Rizvi, visited the GPO Chowk and PTI office on the Jail Road, saying that no one would be allowed to take the law into their own hands. “We will take action against those who even touch a policeman’s uniform. We will not allow anyone to destroy the peace of the city,” said Rizvi.

The workers belonging to the Insaf Lawyers Forum staged a protest outside the LHC. Police pushed them inside the court and locked the gate.

Meanwhile, police baton-charged a protest staged near Neela Gumbad Chowk in Lahore, forcing the participants to disperse into nearby streets. PTI leader Zubair Niazi attended this protest.

On the other hand, PTI’s Sher Afzal Marwat, who was leading a rally from Peshawar to Islamabad, decided to change its route towards Rawalpindi. It reached Chungi No 4 after passing through Raja Bazaar and Fawwara Chowk.

Speaking to party workers, Marwat called for the release of Imran Khan and other incarcerated PTI leaders. “We will continue the campaign in courts, assemblies and on the roads till the release of PTI founder,” he said, adding that their “peaceful protests” were interrupted by the state machinery and law-enforcement officials. “People have taken to the streets to take back their stolen mandate,” he said, adding that “unconstitutional” obstacles in the way of protests showed fear and cowardice.

In Islamabad, a PTI rally, headed by Shoaib Shaheen, Ali Bukhari and Aamir Mughal, was staged outside the National Press Club. Another PTI rally reached Pirwadhai after passing through Raja Bazaar, Char Number Chungi and other areas.

The PTI also staged a protest rally in Gujrat. Headed by Qaisara Elahi, wife of former Punjab chief minister Parvez Elahi, the rally reached Chowk Kutchehry. PMLQ President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain’s sister was among the attendees of the rally.

The party also demonstrated outside the Karachi Press Club with a large number of women participants. Addressing the protest, PTI leader Aftab Jahangir took a jibe at Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQMP), saying the party had “stolen” the rights of Karachi. “The biggest theft of the PTI mandate was done in Karachi. Farooq Sattar should swear if he has really won,” he said, adding that Karachiites rejected the MQMP which was sent into the assemblies through the “backdoor”.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) spokesperson Saturday strongly denounced what he alleged the fascist, coercive tactics and the unlawful use of state machinery to disrupt the peaceful but massive protest Saturday across the country against the ‘theft of the public mandate’.

He lashed out at the police for detaining peaceful protestors and erecting obstacles to deny the people their constitutional right to peacefully demonstrate to reclaim their stolen mandate. The spokesperson said that people came in droves on the call of their beloved leader PTI Chairman Imran Khan to protest against the polls fraud, which proved that the “mandate thieves” rode to power on the coattails of stolen votes.

He stated that the unconstitutional obstacles and massive police deployment in the way of protests clearly showed the level of fear of the “fake government of mandate thieves”. He went on to say that the people gave a clear and huge mandate to Imran Khan but the clear majority was converted into a minority fraudulently through results manipulation.

He underscored that the PTI would continue its strong and peaceful struggle within the framework of the Constitution and law to take back the stolen mandate of people. He made it clear that the brave and conscious people of Pakistan would not rest until they snatch their mandate from “the bandits, who robbed them of their vote in the dark of night.”

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