ISLAMABAD: Police on Thursday registered a case against the individuals behind the banners put up earlier this week across the country asking Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif to ‘take over’, said sources in the interior ministry and police.
They said the Secretariat police registered an FIR (No 100) against unnamed suspects.
According to the interior ministry sources, the police had been asked to register the case under Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 124-A (sedition), and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) of the Pakistan Penal Code.
The ministry sources also claimed that law enforcement agencies had conducted a number of raids in Faisalabad, where the leadership of ‘Move On Pakistan’ — the party behind the banner campaign — is based. ‘Move On Pakistan’ has been under added scrutiny after some of its members suggested that the party wanted a military coup.
Move On Pakistan changes tune on demand for army chief to ‘take over’
Ali Hashmi, the party’s central organiser, had told Dawn on Monday that the goal of their campaign was to suggest to the army chief that after imposing martial law, he should form a government of technocrats, under his supervision.
But after this line drew a sharp reaction from the media and other institutions, the party has been at pains to distance itself from these claims. At a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Wednesday, party members downplayed the perception that they wanted the army chief to impose martial law.
Talking to Dawn, ‘Move On Pakistan’ chairman Mohammad Kamran was insistent that his party had nothing to with the army or the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
He claimed that as many as 700 banners were displayed in eight cities across the country, which cost the party around Rs300,000.
Mr Kamran claimed that though their message was straight-forward, some elements were deliberately trying to make them controversial.
“We still believe that Gen Raheel Sharif should get an extension, but the media has been portraying it as if we are demanding martial law. The fact is that the government is not implementing the National Action Plan and Gen Sharif is the only personal who can ensure its implementation,” he said.
He also denied receiving any funds or facilitation from either the army or a political party to print and display the banners. “The design [of the banners]was prepared in Faisalabad and sent to our provincial offices. The banners were printed in all four provinces: in Peshawar, Karachi, Faisalabad and Quetta,” he said.
“Some posters were also printed in Rawalpindi and displayed in both Islamabad and Rawalpindi,” he said, adding that no one prevented their workers while they were putting up the banners.
He claimed that the banners had been completely removed from Punjab, adding that he had heard that they were also removed in other parts of the country.