March 25, 2023
The whereabouts of a PTI social media activist Azhar Mahwani are still unknown despite the passage of 48 hours. Mashwani went missing on the afternoon of March 23, 2023, when he was travelling to the Zaman Park residence of his party chief Imran Khan.
The party has expressed its fears of Mashwani being picked up by the police for criticizing the top leadership of the Punjab Police against the alleged ongoing crackdown on PTI workers.
Mashwani is considered a stalwart of the PTI social media team and has also served with the former Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar as his focal person for digital media.
Reacting to Mashwani’s alleged disappearance, PTI chief Imran Khan said, “enough is enough”. He accused Punjab and Islamabad Police of “breaking all laws with impunity”.
Speaking to Voicepk.net, Mashwani’s brother Mazhar said that the police were not cooperating with them.
“We have submitted an application in Green Town Police Station against the abduction of our brother, but the police have not registered our FIR yet.”
Mazhar says that his brother was going to Zaman Park on a ride-sharing cab service when he was picked up by unknown persons.
“The crime scene is covered by various CCTV cameras, some of them belong to Safe City Project, but the Police have failed to get any footage of the incident,” Mazhar says. He adds that the police visited the crime scene yesterday no progress have been made so far in tracing Mashwani.
The Green Town Police, when contacted, said the crime does not occur in their jurisdiction. “Some of the PTI workers come to the police station today and as per them Azhar was picked up from Bedian road Lahore, so I cannot register the FIR as the crime didn’t take place under my area of jurisdiction”, says SHO Green Town Hammad Hussain.
PTI top-tier leadership, however, say that Mashwani is in FIA’s custody and he has been moved to Islamabad from Lahore.
“We have filed a habeas corpus petition in the Lahore High Court (LHC) Rawalpindi bench seeking Mashwani’s recovery and our case will be heard on March 27, Monday,” says Mazhar.
Mazhar tells that Mashwani recently got married on March 5th and the entire family is under great stress from his disappearance. “ The family is really depressed since we don’t know who has taken him, it will be a sigh of relief for us even if we get to know his location.”
Mashwani’s wife Mahnoor Azhar has written a letter to the Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial urging him to take suo motu notice of the incident for the “recovery and release” of Mashwani “from the illegal and unlawful custody of powerful people”.
Mashwani’s wife said she believed her husband was “abducted and being detained illegally and unlawfully by the Punjab police in connivance with the FIA and other law enforcement agencies at the behest of some powerful people with the intention to harm him and the entire family”.