Punjab government spokesman differs from federal reaction in seeking arrests for all accused
Prime Minister Imran Khan was unaware of any criminal conspiracy case being filed against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and has expressed great displeasure at its registration, Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry said on Monday.
In a posting on Twitter, he said that the prime minister had only learnt of the case after he had informed of it. Suggesting that perhaps the case was filed to implicate Khan, Chaudhry said the incumbent government did not believe in filing such cases.
“Filing treason cases is not our [PTI government’s] policy. These were the tactics [of] Nawaz Sharif’s tenure,” he said, adding that the PTI preferred to response to its opponents politically. “The game has just begun,” he added.
Chaudhry’s claims were echoed by Special Assistant to the P.M. for Political Media Shahbaz Gill, who said the PTI was not in favor of sedition cases against politicians. He said that there was no charge of treason in the FIR, adding it it included “sedition” provisions that are “not a crime of treason.”
However, in contrast, the Punjab government—also ruled by the PTI—appeared to come out swinging in favor of the FIR. Provincial Information Minister Fayyazul Hassan Chohan told media that everyone named in the case should be arrested. He claimed the Lahore police—under victim-blaming Capital City Police Officer Umar Sheikh—should constitute special teams to arrest anyone “speaking against state institutions.”
The conflicting responses suggest the Punjab government is either acting against the prime minister, or the federal lawmakers are actively misleading the public by claiming the prime minister is ignorant of major developments in the country.
The Lahore police on Monday registered a case of sedition and other serious charges against PMLN leaders, supremo and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz, and 41 other senior leaders of the party. Those booked also included Pakistan-administered Kashmir Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider.
According to the FIR, Sharif delivered “hateful speeches” against state institutions to an All Parties Conference, as well as his party’s Central Working Committee and Central Executive Committee. It claims anyone who attended those meetings endorsed Sharif’s words—however, curiously, the FIR does not mention any of the other opposition leaders who attended the APC.