PTI's Salman Akram Raja Arrested During Protests In Lahore

A large number of people gathered at F-9 Park in Islamabad on PTI's call for nationwide protest against rigging in elections

PTI's Salman Akram Raja Arrested During Protests In Lahore

Lawyer and politician Salman Akram Raja was detained by the police in Lahore on Saturday as he protested against alleged irregularities in the election process.

His arrest came on a day when the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), together with some political allies, staged nationwide protests against what they claimed were rigged general elections.

Salman Akram Raja was a PTI-backed independent candidate from NA-128 in Lahore. Raja had claimed he had won the election, but the results had been tampered with to ensure that Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party (IPP) member Mohammad Awn Saqlain Chaudhry won. According to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), Raja had secured 159,024 votes, while Chaudhry won the seat with 172,576 votes. Asim Arshad Khan of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP was third with 14,654 votes. On February 15, the ECP withdrew its notification which declared Chaudhry as the winner. New results have not been notified.

On Saturday, Raja joined the nationwide protest. Speaking to the media, he said it was their right to speak up and protest for their rights. 

A large crowd of PTI supporters had gathered around him, chanting slogans calling for 'Azaadi" (freedom).

He was subsequently detained by the police, who hauled him into the back of a waiting police prison van parked nearby. Several other PTI workers were also detained.

As uniformed and police officers in plain clothes dragged him away, he stated that he was being arrested illegally and that it would not stop them from raising their voices for their rights.

Islamabad protest

Despite the roadblocks erected and other measures adopted by the state to prevent protesters from gathering in Islamabad, a large number of people started pouring into Sector F-9 Fatima Jinnah Park in Islamabad to protest against the alleged rigging in elections.

The state even dug up parts of the park and the green belt to prevent people from gathering there while a heavy contingent of police was deployed.

Two days ago, PTI leader and candidate from NA-41 Sher Afzal Marwat issued a statement where he said that party founder Imran Khan had issued a call for staging a protest in F-9 park on Saturday.

The PTI, which announced an alliance with the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl this week, said that the two parties would jointly stage a protest against the rigged elections.