Khadija Shah, the alleged prime suspect in Jinnah House attack, has announced turning herself in to the police amid crackdown on rioters involved in damaging and torching public and military installations across the country on May 9.
Khadija, the daughter of former finance minister Salman Shah, is accused of leading the attack on Lahore Corps Commander's House — also known as Jinnah House — during the May 9 mayhem.
Claiming to be a "supporter" of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), she had been in hiding ever since the authorities launched the crackdown to arrest the accused involved in ransacking public and military installations following party Chairman Imran Khan's arrest in a graft case.
“I am going to turn myself in to the police. I have taken this decision because the last five days remained ‘very tough’ for me,” she said in an alleged audio message that emerged on social media on Sunday.
In the over 16 minutes-long audio message, Khadija admitted that she is a PTI supporter and part of the protest outside the Lahore Corps Commander's House but denied committing any wrongdoing including inciting people to violence.
“They [authorities] barged into my house at midnight and abducted my husband and father. They roughed up my husband in front of our children... my domestic workers were also subjected to torture,” she claimed.
The PTI supporter went on to say she did not violate any law or Constitution of the country and added that she participated in many PTI protests for the last of one year.
She also disclosed that she was a dual citizen and trying to get help from the embassy.
“The Punjab government is trying to build a case on me that I am the prime suspect and mastermind of May 9 [vandalism],” she said while accusing the provincial authorities of victimisation.
“I am neither the office bearer nor a worker [of the PTI]. I protested in an individual capacity as a supporter of Imran Khan,” she added.
Sharing her version of events that led to the attack on Jinnah House, Khadija said she joined the PTI’s procession at Liberty Chowk in Lahore to protest against the arrest of the former prime minister, who was removed from power last year.
“I also met Andleeb Abbas [PTI leader] and I was later told that they [protesters] were heading towards Corps Commander's House to stage a protest there,” she added.
The PTI supporter said there was nothing wrong in staging a protest outside any location in any democratic country.
“I and Andleeb tried to stop protesters from ransacking... but the crowd was getting larger and there were just a few organisers,” she claimed.
Moreover, Khadija said she did not cross the barricade of Jinnah House and incite anyone to violence.
However, she admitted that she posted videos of the ransacking of the Corps Commander's House on Twitter to show the people what was happening as there was a "media blackout".
“Yasmeen Rahsid [senior leader of PTI] told me that the protest outside the Corps Commander's House would continue till the release of Imran Khan,” she added.
The development came a day after, Punjab Interim Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi announced that the women involved in the May 9 attacks on the military installations will be arrested at all costs.
The violent protests were triggered soon after the PTI chairman was arrested by the Rangers personnel in the £190 million Al-Qadir Trust case — while acting on the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) warrant on May 9.
At least 10 people were killed and dozens of others sustained injuries during the days-long protests with internet services also remaining suspended for over 72 hours across the country.
Demanding Khan’s release, the enraged mob attacked sensitive national institutions and buildings — including the General Headquarters (GHQ) and Jinnah House — on May 9.
The protesters also desecrated the martyrs’ monument and set Radio Pakistan’s building on fire.
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