Islamabad: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader and close aide of former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, Shahbaz Gill was arrested in Islamabad on Tuesday.
“After the ban on ARY yesterday, they’ve today arrested @SHABAZGIL. Pakistan is living under a fascist imported government, who doesn’t care about the human rights of the people of Pakistan. We strongly demand the immediate release of Dr Gill,” Imran Khan’s PTI tweeted.
PTI leader and former federal minister Fawad Chaudhry said that Gill was picked up from Banigala Chowk by unidentified personnel in cars with missing number plates.
“Shahbaz Gil has been abducted from Bani Gala Chowk by people who came in vehicles without number plates,” Chaudhry tweeted.
The former prime minister slammed the arrest, asking “can such shameful acts take place in any democracy?” “This is an abduction not an arrest. Can such shameful acts take place in any democracy? Political workers treated as enemies. And all to make us accept a foreign-backed government of crooks,” Imran Khan tweeted.
An Islamabad police spokesperson said that Shahbaz Gill has been taken into custody for inciting the public against the state institutions, Geo News reported.
Police said that Gill was arrested for “making statements against the state institutions and inciting the people to rebellion.”
The spokesperson said an FIR has been registered against the PTI leader at the Banigala Police Station. The Pakistani publication claimed that the PTI leader had attempted to incite hatred in the Pakistan Army while speaking on ARY News a day prior, which has been restricted in certain parts of the country.
On Monday, the transmission of Pakistan’s ARY News was suspended in different parts of Pakistan.
The Human Rights Commission in Pakistan (HRCP) has strongly opposed the disruptions to ARY News and asked the country’s regulatory authorities not to take channels off the air arbitrarily.
“HRCP strongly opposes the disruptions to @ARYNEWSOFFICIAL. PEMRA must refrain from arbitrarily taking channels off the air and protect all media houses’ right to freedom of expression, responsibly exercised,” HRCP tweeted.
Pakistan is one of the world’s deadliest countries for journalists, with three to four murders each year that are often linked to cases of corruption or illegal trafficking and which go completely unpunished, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
Any journalist who crosses the red lines dictated by Pakistan military is liable to be the target of in-depth surveillance that could lead to abduction and detention for varying lengths of time in the state’s prisons or less official jails.