PPP leader Ali Musa Gilani on Wednesday confirmed that he has been arrested by police following a rally ahead of the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s (PDM) upcoming jalsa, with the party chairperson terming the move as the PTI government’s “thuggery”.

The Multan Police “have arrested me and my colleagues”, Ali Musa Gilani told Geo News in a telephonic conversation. “I requested [a copy] of the FIR registered against me but I’m not being provided” one by the police, he added.

The Multan Police, in a statement, said a case was registered against Ali Musa Gilani for holding a rally today despite the ban. “We have nominated 30 leaders of the PPP and the PML-N in the FIR,” they added, noting that at least 50 other unidentified political workers were booked as well.

PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari strongly condemned the arrest of Ali Musa Gilani, saying it was “thuggery and bullying by the selected rulers”.

“The government now wants to suppress the people’s movement by force,” Bilawal Bhutto added.

He said the “regime is scared” and knew that “people stand with democracy not with selected government”, vowing to go ahead with the Nov 30 protest — which he said was “our democratic right”.

Multan Police denied arrest earlier

Earlier, a spokesperson for the Gilani House had said at least three PPP officials, including the former prime minister’s son, Ali Musa, were arrested but the Multan Police had denied the claims.

The Multan Police had told the media that Ali Musa Gilani — the son of PPP leader and former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani — had arrived at the police station alongside other political workers to meet their arrested colleagues.

“Ali Musa Gilani has not been arrested; he is in the police station due to the throng of the workers outside,” the Multan Police said.

Yousaf Raza Gilani leads Multan rally

Prior to that, PPP leader Yousaf Raza Gilani led a rally here from Nawan Shehr ahead of the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s (PDM) upcoming jalsa, where his son, Ali Musa, had torn apart a copy of a first information report (FIR) terming it “bogus”.

The rally — from Multan’s Nawan Shehr to Ghanta Ghar Chowk — was led by the PPP in preparation for the PDM’s jalsa meeting on November 30.

Multan’s deputy commissioner, Amir Khattak, said the district administration had not allowed the PPP to hold a rally. Consequently, heavy contingents of police were deployed on all roads leading to the city’s Nawan Shehr.

Both DC Khattak and Multan’s Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Muhammad Hassan Raza Khan were there at the site as well.

Moreover, there were severe traffic jams on the roads towards Nawan Shehr, with blockages reported on Chowk Dera Ada, Kalma Chowk, Tariq Road, and Abdali Road.

‘No response’ to request for permission

Local authorities had installed barriers at the rally’s main areas and routes to discourage people from entering but the participants and the PPP’s political workers removed them.

The rally’s leadership claimed that they had submitted a request for the gathering, as well as for the PDM’s jalsa in Qila Kohna Qasim Bagh Stadium, two weeks prior but the district administration had not responded.

The PPP leader’s son, Syed Ali Musa Gilani, joined the rally, whereupon he got hold of a copy of a case filed against the gathering and tore it apart in front of the participants.

“The district administration lodged a false FIR for breaking the locks of the venue,” Musa Gilani said.

‘Bogus FIR based on false, ridiculous charges’

Former prime minister Gillani’s son Kasim also talked about the rally on Twitter before sharing a copy of the FIR in another post.

“The Punjab government has registered a bogus FIR based on false and ridiculous charges Abdul Qadir Gilani, myself and [PPP/PDM],” he said.

The three sons of the former prime minister, including Musa and Kasim, reached the Lohari Gate police station after a case was filed against them a day earlier and offered the authorities to arrest them on the spot.