PakistanPolitics

PTI Founder Imran Khan Implicated in GHQ Attack Case, Denied Physical Remand

Former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan was arrested on Tuesday in the GHQ attack case, related to the violent protests that erupted on May 9, 2023, following his arrest in a corruption case.

Imran Khan, who is already in Adiala jail in cipher and graft cases, was summoned by an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Rawalpindi to face charges of attacking and ransacking the army’s General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi, along with other state installations, during the May 9 riots.

However, he could not be produced in the court by the jail authorities due to security reasons, and attended the court proceedings via video link.

The RA Bazar police station officials, who registered the case against Imran Khan, requested the court to grant physical remand of the PTI founder for interrogation. However, ATC Judge Malik Aijaz Asif rejected the plea and directed the police to interrogate Imran Khan in the jail.

The judge also issued notices to the prosecution and the defense lawyers to submit their arguments and evidence on the next hearing, which is scheduled for January 23, 2024.

Imran Khan’s arrest in the GHQ attack case came days after another senior PTI leader, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, was also arrested in the same case, after the Supreme Court granted him bail in the cipher case.

Qureshi, who was initially arrested in a GHQ attack reference from Adiala jail, was later booked in 12 other cases related to the May 9 violence, and sent to Adiala jail on a 14-day remand by a local court in Rawalpindi.

The May 9 violence was triggered by the arrest of Imran Khan, who served as the prime minister of Pakistan from 2018 to 2022, on charges of receiving illegal gifts and assets from foreign countries.

His supporters and party workers took to the streets to demand his release, and clashed with the police and security forces. They also attacked and vandalized several civil and military installations, including the GHQ, the Jinnah House in Lahore, the Mianwali airbase, and others.

They also burned vehicles, blocked roads, and disrupted public order. More than 5,000 people were arrested and charged under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) and other laws for their involvement in the riots.

The federal government has constituted a cabinet committee to investigate the incidents of May 9, and to identify and hold accountable the masterminds, planners, facilitators, and executors of the violence.

The committee, headed by the caretaker federal law and justice minister, also includes the ministers of interior, information, and human rights. The committee is mandated to examine the events leading up to the incidents of May 9, analyze the causes, determine the responsibility, and evaluate the implications of the violence.

The May 9 violence has also caused a rift within the PTI, as several leaders have parted ways with Imran Khan over his confrontational politics. The PTI has also conducted intra-party polls as per its constitution, amid allegations of rigging and manipulation.

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