A Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-backed woman candidate contesting against PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif here was indicted in a terrorism case on Tuesday, as authorities in Pakistan’s Punjab province intensified crackdown on jailed former premier Imran Khan’s party leaders and supporters ahead of elections.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidates are contesting the February 8 polls independently after the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Election Commission of Pakistan to deprive Khan’s party of its iconic election symbol ‘bat’.
Since the PTI is facing the wrath of the military establishment, its independent candidates are not being allowed to campaign in their constituencies, thus paving the way for the PMLN, which is currently the blue-eyed of the military, to win the election.
In Lahore, Sharif, 74, a three-time former premier, is contesting on NA-130 against PTI-backed strong candidate Dr Yasmin Rashid. However, Rashid was indicted by an Anti-Terrorism Court on Tuesday in a case related to attacking a police station in Lahore on May 9 violence that had erupted after the arrest of Khan by paramilitary Rangers.
Dozens of military and state buildings, including the Army headquarters in Rawalpindi and the ISI building in Faisalabad, were torched and vandalised by many PTI activists during the unprecedented violence that broke out after Khan’s arrest. Rashid has been in jail since May last and her party supporters are doing door-to-door campaigning.
PTI leaders see her indictment as a fear of Sharif fearing his defeat.
The PTI on Tuesday also alleged that the houses of the party leaders and supporters are being raided across the province by the police.
Police are also harassing women workers, it said.
In Lahore, police sealed the main election office of its incarcerated candidate Aaliya Hamza who is contesting against former premier Shehbaz Sharif’s son Hamza Shehbaz in Lahore’s NA-118.
Similarly, police raided the residence of PTI President Chaudhry Parvez Elahi in the Gujrat district of Punjab and harassed his wife and sister who are contesting polls.
The police team asked them to give the list of polling agents.
Similar incidents were reported at the residence of different leaders and candidates of PTI in Multan, Sargodha, Toba Tek Singh, Sahiwal, Khanewal and Sheikhupura.
The PTI fears that the police will not allow its polling agents across the province on election day.