PTI leader's arrest draws widespread condemnation.

ISLAMABAD -- The arrest of PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry elicited condemnation from across the political spectrum, as a number of journalists, politicians, and members of civil society criticised law enforcers for whisking away the former information minister from his house in Lahore.

At a press conference alongside Mr Chaudhry's wife, PTI leaders Shireen Mazari and Zulfi Bukhari termed the detention 'fascism' by the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) government at the helm of affairs in Islamabad. Ms Mazari urged President Arif Alvi and Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial to take notice of 'illegal happenings' in Pakistan.

She defended Mr Chaudhry's decision to dub the ECP a 'munshi' (clerk) and questioned how the use of a derogatory term for someone could warrant an arrest. 'Let alone keeping him at CTD lockup? Terrorists roam free but political opponents arrested,' she added.

The former human rights minister chided the ECP official for invoking terrorism charges against the PTI leader and termed the FIR 'most ridiculous'. Is calling someone a 'clerk' an act of terror, wondered Ms Mazari. She also questioned why was Fawad blindfolded and handcuffed.

Ms Mazari asked the judiciary as to how long would the courts remain silent. How long would this violence on politicians be tolerated, she asked.

Zulfi Bukhari said Fawad was arrested for questioning the appointment of caretaker CM Mohsin Naqvi in Punjab. He said Fawad always supported democracy.

PML-Q leader Moonis Elahi, who was instrumental in forging an alliance between Q-League and PTI last year, said his party would stand with Fawad. 'Spoke to @fawadchaudhry wife. Glad to see her in high spirits. We will stand with them. They picked the wrong person to mess with.'

'Not justifiable'

Journalist Mazhar Abbas also took exception to the arrest of the ex-minister and said it could not be justified. 'No justification in the arrest of key PTI leader Fawad Ch. What have they achieved so far in the cases of Azam Swati, Shahbaz Gill or in the cases against journalists. You have a right to disagree but historically such actions only go against government of the day,' he warned.

Journalist Amber Rahim Shamsi also called out the government for filing a sedition charge against Mr Chaudhry, saying his statement targeting the ECP members did not warrant such a heinous charge. 'When you're throwing every law on the books, it smells of political revenge and overreach,' Ms Shamsi said in a tweet.


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