Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi was re-arrested on Tuesday, within minutes of being released from Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail on the orders of the Islamabad High Court (IHC).
Speaking with media outside the Adiala Jail before being re-arrested, Qureshi stressed that he had no desire to exit the PTI—as over two-dozen party workers and leaders have done in the past week—and would remain within the party. He was subsequently apprehended and whisked away by police to an unknown location. On Wednesday morning, police informed court that Qureshi had detained for 15 days under Section 3 of the Maintenance of Public Order.
A few hours before Qureshi’s release and re-arrest, former human rights minister Shireen Mazari and former Punjab government spokesman Fayyazul Hassan Chohan both announced they were leaving the PTI. In a brief speech, Mazari said she wished to focus on her children and elderly mother and would no longer remain active in politics. Chohan, meanwhile, accused PTI chief Imran Khan of refusing to listen to his advice and lamented that he had been discarded despite all the efforts he had expended for the party.
Earlier, the IHC had ordered Qureshi’s release on the condition he submit an undertaking affirming that he would abstain from creating agitation and inciting workers or participating in any protests. The PTI leader had initially refused to submit the undertaking but had eventually relented, though to no avail, as he was re-arrested in separate cases almost immediately upon his release.
Thousands of PTI workers and leaders have been arrested following the May 9 riots triggered by the arrest of Khan in a corruption case. The rioters targeted military installations and buildings, as well as damaging various public and private properties. Both the military and civilian leaderships have announced that people involved in attacks on military installations would be tried under the Pakistan Army Act and Official Secrets Act, while those who rioted but did not target Army facilities would be prosecuted under Anti-Terrorism Laws.
Apart from Qureshi, party spokesperson Musarrat Jamshed Cheema was also released and rearrested immediately upon her release. Police have said both she and her husband, Jamshed Cheema, have been detained for 15 days under Section 3 of the MPO.