Pakistan: Imran (former PM) nominated as prime accused in May 9 cases


LAHORE: Former prime minister Imran Khan was nominated as the prime accused in a challan submitted before an anti-terrorism court on Thursday pertaining to 11 cases registered following the May 9 riots.

The challan, pertaining to incidents of vandalism at the Lahore Corps Commander’s House (Jinnah House), Askari Tower, Shadman Police Station and Sherpao Bridge during nationwide protests that broke out following Imran’s arrest on May 9 by the paramilitary Rangers, nominates the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief and other party leaders as prime accused.

PTI chief Imran, founding party member and former Punjab governor Omar Sarfaraz Cheema, former provincial ministers Mian Mehmoodur Rashid and Dr Yasmeen Rashid, fashion designer Khadija Shah and Sanam Javed, are among the accused named in the challan.

Imran was arrested on May 9 from the premises of the Islamabad High Court (IHC), where he had appeared for proceedings related to the Al-Qadir Trust case. Nationwide protests broke out shortly after his arrest with rioters attacking key government and military installations, among other acts of vandalism.

The state responded by shutting down internet and mobile services for four days, severely hindering the flow of information as well as adversely impacting economic functions in the country.

The state has since rounded up thousands of PTI leaders and workers with a majority of them hailing from Punjab. Scores of them, including the prime accused in the challan submitted Thursday, remain incarcerated while at least 102 suspects are currently detained in military custody pending trials under the Pakistan Army Act read with the Official Secrets Act – both of which were amended earlier this year.

The PTI chief was released on May 11 after the Supreme Court declared his arrest by the paramilitary force illegal. He was arrested for the second time on August 5, after a local court in Islamabad convicted him in the Toshakhana case effectively ending his prospects for taking part in the upcoming general elections.

He remains behind bars with over 150 cases pending against him.

Meanwhile, the police also submitted on Thursday a challan pertaining to an arson attack on Justice Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi’s squad