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Thursday May 30, 2024

Corps commander house attack: ATC hands over 16 suspects for trial by military court

Imran, Bushra among 600 PTI leaders put on ‘no-fly list’

By News Desk & Numan Wahab
May 26, 2023
Army troops stand guard in the red zone after the arrest of former prime minister Imran Khan triggered violent protests by his supporters, in Islamabad on May 11, 2023. — AFP
Army troops stand guard in the "red zone" after the arrest of former prime minister Imran Khan triggered violent protests by his supporters, in Islamabad on May 11, 2023. — AFP

LAHORE/ ISLAMABAD: An anti-terrorism court has ordered handing over 16 suspects, allegedly involved in an attack on the corps commander’s house in Lahore, to the Pakistan military for trial in a military court.

Anti-Terrorism Court Administration Judge Abhar Gul Khan issued the written order on Thursday. According to the order, a commanding officer of the Pakistan Army, Irfan Athar, requested the court to hand him over 16 accused, currently lodged at Lahore’s Camp Jail in two cases, including an attack on the corps commander’s house.

The military official stated before the court that the persons were accused by the army under several provisions of the Official Secrets Act, 1923 and the Pakistan Army Act, 1952, the order read.

In its order, the court said the Punjab government prosecutor did not oppose the request and the prosecution department also requested the court to issue an appropriate order.

“On the request of the commanding officer of the army and the statement submitted by the prosecution department that the trial of these 16 persons should be held exclusively in a military court, the court approves the extradition of these accused to the army,” the judge announced.

In the written judgment, the ATC judge directed the Camp Jail superintendent to hand over the accused to the army.

Among the 16 accused are former Tehreek-e-Insaf MPA Mian Akram Usman, Amir Zohaib, Ali Iftikhar, Ali Raza and Muhammad Arsalan, Muhammad Umair, Muhammad Rahim, Ziaur Rehman, Waqas Ali, Rais Ahmed, Faisal Arshad, Muhammad Bilal Hussain, Faheem Haider, Arzam Junaid, Muhammad Hasher Khan and Hassan Shakir. Former MPA Mian Akram is the son-in-law of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Mian Mahmoodur-Rashid.

Earlier, the army had submitted a written application to the ATC through its commanding officer. It was said in the petition that the charge of attack on military installations against these accused had been proven during the investigation, so they should be handed over to the army as per law. The court also made the request part of its order, while the commanding officer appeared before the court during the hearing.

Pakistan military’s Legal Adviser Sajid Ilyas Bhatti and Deputy Prosecutor General Punjab Amjad Javed assisted the commanding officer in the courtroom.

On May 9, protests took place in the country against the arrest of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan. However, the protesters turned violent and attacked the corps commander’s house in Lahore.

Meanwhile, over 600 PTI leaders, including party Chairman Imran Khan, his wife Bushra Bibi and former assembly members, were put on the no-fly list, sources told Geo News on Thursday.

The Federal Investigation Authority (FIA) sources said the names had been added to the list over their alleged involvement in the May-9 violence and desecration of martyrs’ monuments.

The names have been added to the FIA’s Provisional National Identification List (PNIL) to prevent them from going abroad, added the sources. The list also includes the names of Murad Saeed, Maleeka Bokhari, Fawad Chaudhry, Hammad Azhar, Qasim Suri, Asad Qaiser, Yasmin Rashid and Mian Aslam Iqbal.

Sources claimed that some of the PTI leaders and office-bearers had attempted to flee the country in the last three days; however, they were stopped at the airports. Their names had also been sent by the police, the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) and intelligence agencies.