Lahore police arrested PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry from his residence shortly after he publicly censured the government for scheming to arrest party chairman, Imran Khan, said party leader Farrukh Habib Wednesday morning.

The development comes as a surprise for many.

“He was taken away from outside his house at 5:30 am in four cars that did not have any number plates,” Faisal Chaudhry, the PTI leader’s brother said.

He said that the family was unaware of Fawad’s location. “We are also not being given any details of the FIR (first information report) registered against him.”

Faisal termed his brother’s arrest “illegal” and asserted that he will fight this battle in court.

The Islamabad police also confirmed the arrest of Fawad. A case against him was registered last night at the Kohsar police station in Islamabad on the complaint of Secretary of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), Omer Hamid Khan. The first information report (FIR) was lodged against him for using threatening language against the ECP and its members.

In his speech outside Imran Khan’s residence in Lahore, Fawad warned the ECP, its members and their families, according to the FIR.

The FIR states that Fawad said that the status of the election commission was reduced to that of a “Munshi [clerk]”.

Fawad said that those who become part of the caretaker government will be pursued until they are punished. He had said that the people sitting in the government would be pursued to their houses.

Fawad’s arrest comes amid the nightlong turnout of PTI workers who rushed to party chairman Imran Khan’s residence to ensure his security.

“The imported government has gone berserk,” Habib said in a tweet. The PTI leader also posted videos on social media of police whisking away Fawad. 

The Islamabad police said the PTI leader was arrested from his residence near Thokar Niyaz Baig in Lahore. He would be taken to the federal capital.

Party leaders condemned the detention of Fawad Chaudhry. PTI Sindh President Ali Haider Zaidi slammed the government over the arrest.

“Pakistan has become a lawless state at the hands of these lawbreaking lawmakers and corrupt law enforcement officers,” he tweeted.

As rumors of an impending arrest of PTI chief Imran Khan circulated in the early hours of Wednesday, party leaders and workers, in large numbers, descended upon his residence in Lahore’s Zaman Park.

Meanwhile, the PTI announced on its official Twitter handle: “There are reports that the puppet government will try to arrest Imran Khan tonight.”

Raising slogans in support of Khan, his supporters voiced their anger and pledged their unwavering loyalty to their leader, even if it meant putting their own lives on the line.

Speaking with the press earlier in the night, Fawad denounced the government’s actions, calling it a nefarious plot to destabilise the country. He called those involved in the supposed conspiracy as traitors.

“If the police have courage and audacity, they should come and arrest Imran Khan,” Fawad said.

Another party leader, Hammad Azhar, claimed that the government was actively working to create an environment for Khan’s arrest. Accordingly, the party has taken measures to ensure their leader’s safety, he said.

In a bold warning, Azhar declared that no one holds the power to arrest Imran Khan.

Meanwhile, “Zaman Park” trended top social media, with users condemning the government’s potential manoeuvre to arrest the PTI chief. 

Party leader Asad Umar also called on workers to reach Zaman Park, saying he had already arrived at Imran’s residence. 

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