Former human rights minister of Pakistan Shireen Mazari was allegedly beaten up and arrested from her home on Saturday. The reports of her detention were confirmed by her daughter, lawyer Iman Mazari.
Mazari's daughter tweeted about her mother's arrest saying, "Male police officers have beaten and taken my mother away. All I have been told is that Anti-Corruption Wing Lahore has taken her.
Islamabad Police however refuted claims of mishandling during the arrest. “Dr Shireen Mazari was arrested by female police officers as per the law on the request of the anti-corruption department. News of any mishandling is baseless,” it said in a tweet.
Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz hours after the arrest ordered ‘immediate release’ of Shireen Mazari.
Meanwhile, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) has ordered the authorities concerned to produce Mazari before the court at 11:30pm.
The first information report (FIR) registered against the former minister said during the scrutiny of record, it revealed that Shireen Mehrun Nisa Mazari in connivance with revenue officials fraudulently and through bogus mutation transferred 800 Kanal land in favour of bogus company namely M/s Progressive Farms Limited.
Furthermore, the FIR said the Federal Land Commission in its report declared this mutation bogus. “During the perusal of record, it revealed that land measuring 1,386 Acres of Mst. Shireen Mehr-un-Nisa Mazari was surrendered to Provincial Govt through Land Commission. In Mutation No. 39 dated 05.07.1973, there is cutting and tempering.”
Minister for information and broadcasting during PTI's regime, Fawad Chaudhry had revealed the news on his official Twitter account earlier in the day.
The footage of the arrest showed female police officers dragging the former minister out of her car after she refused to step out.
In a separate video, Mazari's daughter, also a lawyer, said her mother was "kidnapped".
"I do not know anything, all I know is that a woman was kidnapped today in a thug-like manner." A visibly distraught Mazari added that neither was the family informed of anything nor anyone else.
She also 'warned' the incumbent government of consequences if this 'manner in tactics' would be used.
Speaking to the media after her initial statement, Iman said the 'unconstitutional' manner used to detain her mother cannot be termed as an arrest. She added that she does not have information regarding her mother's whereabouts and she was "forcibly disappeared".
"The government thinks that women are soft targets and I want to convey to them that I will not rest and will come after them," she added.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan in a tweet stated that: "Our senior party leader Shireen Mazari has reportedly been violently abducted from outside her house by this fascist regime. Shireen is strong and fearless, if the imported govt thinks it can coerce her by this fascism, they have miscalculated!"
Imran lambasted the current government, saying that his party's movement "is completely peaceful but this fascist imported govt wants to push the country towards chaos. As if sending the economy into tailspin wasn't enough, they now want anarchy to avoid elections. Today we will protest and tmrw after CC meeting I’ll announce our Long March".
Mazari's arrest was widely condemned by other PTI leaders as well. Former federal minister for education, Shafqat Mehmood, termed the arrest a "brutal kidnapping".
"She was manhandled and mistreated which is shameful," the minister added, saying a protest will be held in Lahore against the PTI leader's arrest.
Fawad Chaudhry also condemned the arrest and announced a countrywide protest against it in a tweet.
Ex-prime minister Imran Khan's chief of staff Shahbaz Gill also tweeted about the incident, asking all PTI workers to reach the Kohsar police station.
In another tweet, PTI leader Farrukh Habib hailed Mazari as a 'strong voice', who puts her opinion forward without 'anyone's fear'. He added that "this government has become fearful". Habib further stated that "such tactics will not deter us".
The PTI also termed the former minister's arrest as an "illegal kidnapping", calling on the current government to immediately release her.
Source: The Express Tribune
BDST: 2049 HRS, MAY 21, 2022