Islamabad, Sep 23 (UNI) As many as 35 leaders of the All Parties Democratic Movement (APDM) were arrested last night in a major crackdown on the Opposition ahead of the October 6 presidential elections in Pakistan.
Those arrested include Muttahida Majlis Amal leaders Hafiz Hussain Ahmad, Mian Muhammad Aslam and Javed Hashmi of PML-N.
The office of City Deputy Commissioner, in a release, said in view of calls given by certain political parties for staging protest rallies adjacent to sensitive public buildings, pre-emptive arrests had been initiated in the federal capital.
''Keeping in view the sensitive security environment and for the maintenance of tranquility and security of the public, certain leaders encouraging unregulated and unlawful public assembly have been detained under Section 3 of the Maintenance of Public Order,'' the release said.
The police were reported to have surrounded the Parliament Lodges in order to arrest other APDM leaders, while residence of a Jamaat-e-Islami MNA was also raided, The Nation reported.
Hafiz Hussain Ahmad was arrested from the Parliament Lodges.
According to some PML-N leaders, even the homes of their workers were raided in the late-night crackdown. The paper quoted sources saying Pakistan Tehreek Insaaf Chairman Imran Khan and MMA President Qazi Hussain Ahmad were untraceable.
''This government will do anything to clear the way for the presidential election. They are using the state machinery to curb the opposition,'' Hafiz Hussain Ahmad said.
PML-N spokesman Ahsan Iqbal said he had heard of raids on the homes of party leaders but did not know if anyone had been detained.