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Wednesday May 22, 2024

Rioting at judicial complex: Imran, 17 key PTI leaders booked

FIR states that the police check post and the main gate of the judicial complex were damaged

By Khalid Iqbal & Salman Aslam & Shakeel Anjum & News Desk
March 20, 2023
Pakistan´s former Prime Minister Imran Khan´s supporters burn vehicles as they protest outside a court in Islamabad on March 18, 2023. — AFP
Pakistan´s former Prime Minister Imran Khan´s supporters burn vehicles as they protest outside a court in Islamabad on March 18, 2023. — AFP

ISLAMABAD/ LAHORE: Police on Sunday booked Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan with 17 key leaders of the party on the allegation of creating disarray by showing aggression against the police force and damaging public property outside the Federal Judicial Complex (FJC).

Besides, the police have arrested 61 PTI activists involved in attacking the cops and recovered accessories required for preparing petrol bomb and other attacking instruments.

The Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) lodged the first information report (FIR) under various charges, including 10 cases under the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and terrorism charge against Imran and 17 others for allegedly attacking police officers and causing chaos outside the court complex. The Ramna Police Station registered the FIR.

In the FIR, it said that the PTI chief along with 17 other leaders violated the Section 144 imposed in Islamabad and blocked the road for traffic.

Clashes were reported between the PTI workers and the capital police on Saturday after the PTI chairman arrived at the FJC to attend a hearing in the Toshakhana case.

The police registered FIR under sections 395, 380, 440, 435, 506, 427, 148, 149, 186 and 353 PPC and 7 of Anti-Terrorist Act (ATA).

The complaint invoked sections 148 (rioting, armed with a deadly weapon), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 380 (theft in dwelling house etc), 395 (punishment for robbery), 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of Rs50), 435 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to cause damage to amount of Rs100), 440 (mischief committed after preparation made for causing death or hurt) and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

It also included Section 7 (punishment for acts of terrorism) of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) 1997.

PTI’s Central Secretary General Asad Umar, former deputy speaker Asad Qaiser, leaders Hammad Azhar, Ali Amin Gandapur, Ali Nawaz Awan, Murad Saeed, Shibli Faraz, Hassaan Khan Niazi, Omar Ayub Khan, Amjad Khan Niazi, Khurram Nawaz, Jamshed Mughal, Aamir Kiyani, Farrukh Habib, Dr Shehzad Waseem, Umer Sultan and Imran’s Chief Security Officer Lt Col (retd) Muhammad Asim, have been nominated in the FIR.

The FIR also nominated 18 people involved in causing damage to the FJC, 22 others involved in causing damage in the FJC’s parking area and lighting up fires, and 19 others involved in allegedly injuring police officials. It also mentioned that stones, lighters and bottles filled with petrol were recovered from some of them.

The FIR claimed that PTI workers were armed with stones which they threw at a police check post of the Dhok Kashmirian Police Station. They also burnt down barriers and tents at the check post.

“The charged crowd then surrounded the judicial complex from four sides, broke down its main gate, and then stoned the building until its windows were shattered,” the CTD complaint said, adding that another group of PTI leaders set fire to 16 government and police vehicles and four motorcycles in the parking of the JDC. They also took 9mm pistols, Rs20,000, and a wireless set from the car.”

The violent protesters snatched eight anti-riot kits from the policemen, hit police officers with sticks, and hurled stones at them, the CTD alleged.

Additionally, Islamabad police said it had issued directives to estimate the damage done by PTI supporters outside the FJC.

As many as 61 policemen including SSP (Operations), two ASPs, one DSP, 32 cops including head constables, 23 personnel of Frontier Constabulary, including an officer and 2 upper subordinates, were injured from the stone-pelting by the PTI workers.

Meanwhile, the duty judge Sunday sent 60 Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) workers to Adiala jail on judicial remand on charges of indulging in clashes with the police outside the Islamabad Judicial Complex on Saturday.The police brought the PTI workers in the court under tight security arrangements. Islamabad police spokesman said they were continuously conducting raids in different areas to arrest the PTI activists over their involvement in the Judicial Complex clashes.

Also, the police raided the house of former prime minister Imran Khan’s Chief of Staff Senator Shibli Faraz. According to the family, the police searched the house while Shibli Faraz was not home. Women officials were also with the police team.

Meanwhile, in Lahore, three more criminal cases have been registered against the PTI workers at the Race Course Police Station.Cases have been registered including the torture of two policemen passing through Zaman Park and recovery of arms, petrol bombs and bullets. One case was registered on the complaint of Constable Shafiq who was subjected to torture by the workers.

According to the FIR, the constable was beaten severely by as many as 40 PTI workers when he was going back after finishing his duty. Another case was registered against the PTI workers on charges of throwing the vehicle of Elite Force into the canal. The case was registered on the complaint of Elite Force officer Shahzad. In two other cases, various criminal charges, including terrorism, attempted murder and robbery were imposed.

The third case was registered against PTI leaders and workers for launching an attack on a police team which had reached the Zaman Park to arrest the accused.

The FIR was lodged with the Race Course Police Station on the complaint of inspector Zulfiqar Ali. According to it, 13 police officials, including a DSP, were injured when PTI workers pelted them with stones. Police nominated 102 accused and arrested 76 others in the case. Police included terrorism, illegal weapons, attempt to murder and other sections in the case.

Police recovered eight rifles, hundreds of bullets and petrol bombs from the workers. The FIR also alleged that the PTI leadership had called some suspicious armed persons from tribal areas.

The PTI workers hit the vans with sticks and broke their windows. They also damaged the police van’s lights and windscreen, while the Elite Force personnel ran away to save their lives. The PTI workers also had state-owned weapons in the vehicles under their control and stole two rifles.

Meanwhile, the three students arrested from Zaman Park were handed over to their family. The police stated that it decided not to put the students’ future in danger and they won’t be taking any legal action against them. The DIG Operations also confirmed registration of cases and said that action against such elements would be taken under 7-ATA. He said that cases have been registered against those who damaged government property, attacked the police, and blocked the traffic.