ISLAMABAD: The federal government Saturday strongly criticised the arrest of Awami National Party (ANP) central general secretary Mian Iftikhar Hussain by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, terming it as political victimisation at the hands Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also expressed concern over the arrest and alleged “manhandling” of Mian Iftikhar Hussain in Pabbi last night.
The PM has sought a report from the Inspector General KP, Intelligence Bureau as well as other intelligence agencies about the incident. He directed that political personalities be treated with respect within the parameters of law.
In an official statement, Federal Information Minister Pervez Rashid said the arrest of Mian Iftikhar clearly indicates that KPK administration and police are under direct control of Imran Khan.
Pervez Rashid added that there have been large-scale irregularities in KP local bodies elections.
“There is no clause in Pakistan Penal Code which could not be applicable on the crimes committed by ministers in KP,” alleged Rashid.
He said that the nation is awaiting a public apology from Imran Khan.
Pakistan Peoples’ Party co-chairman and former president Asif Ali Zardari also criticised the arrest of Mian Iftikhar Hussain by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) led government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
“The arrest of political opponents like Liaquat Shabab of PPP and Mian Iftikhar of ANP only belies claims made by Imran Khan that there are no political prisoners in the province,” said the former president in a statement.
He added that these arrests show a dictatorial mindset and intolerance to political dissent.
Zardari called for withdrawal of politically motivated cases against the two leaders.
PPP chief warned the provincial chief minister Pervez Khattak not to be swayed by power and to bear in mind the consequences of political recklessness.
The situation in the area turned tense after police arrested the former information minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
As police failed to control the situation additional contingents of security men, including Army personnel, were called in to diffuse the tension prevailing in the area.
Later during the day, the ANP leader was presented in court which remanded him in police custody for one day.
ANP chief Asfandyar Wali Khan said that jailing of its leaders and activists was not new to the party and the arrest of Mian Iftikhar was part of PTI’s revenge tactics.