Pak court says actions of Imran Khan similar to that of a 'terrorist'

NewsDrum Desk
New Update

Lahore, Jul 11 (PTI) An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan on Thursday said the actions of jailed former prime minister Imran Khan were similar to that of a "terrorist" in a case linked to the May 9 violence and ruled that he had delegated the task of attacking military installations, government properties, and police officials to party leaders to exert pressure for his release.

The 71-year-old PTI founder and hundreds of his party colleagues are being tried under multiple cases, including one under the Official Secrets Act in connection with the May 9, 2023, violent protests by his supporters that damaged key military installations across Pakistan. The unprecedented protests erupted across Pakistan on May 9 last year after Khan was arrested in an alleged corruption case.

Khan's party workers allegedly vandalised a dozen military installations, including the Jinnah House (Lahore Corps Commander House), Mianwali Airbase and the ISI building in Faisalabad. The Army headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi too was attacked by the mob for the first time.

Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party termed the anti-terrorism court's ruling an “absurd order” and declared that it would launch a protest.

The anti-terrorism court (ATC) at Lahore had earlier this week dismissed pre-arrest bail to Khan in three cases related to the May 9 riots and allowed police his continued custody for interrogation.

In a detailed order issued here on Thursday, ATC Judge Khalid Arshad said: “An extraordinary concession of pre-arrest bail is meant for an innocent person and not the petitioner, Imran Khan Niazi, who hatched, materialised alleged criminal conspiracy along with the senior PTI leadership and protesters/accused having a common object to wage a war against the state to topple over the government.” The order said that Khan not only incited people but also instructed leaders to create chaos, disturb law and order, and commit arson to pressure the military and government for his release. This was disclosed in statements from two prosecution witnesses, The Express Tribune newspaper reported.

“The pre-arrest bail of the petitioner has no merits and is hereby dismissed while withdrawing his already granted interim bail,” the judge said.

The judge further observed: A peaceful demonstrator becomes a “terrorist” when he hatches a criminal conspiracy, disseminates it and shares a common object with other accused, who, being armed, attack and attempt to damage state properties like Lahore Corps Commander House known as Jinnah House at Lahore, targeting government machinery ... He loses his normal right to be a law-abiding citizen.” The order, quoting the special public prosecutor, said that a criminal conspiracy was hatched at Khan's Lahore Zaman Park residence on May 7 and 8 in which Khan himself told the top PTI leadership regarding his apprehension of arrest and the reaction of launching protests and damage of military installations.

Reacting to the detailed ACT order, the PTI said, “The judgment contains no evidence of Imran Khan ordering May 9 violence. The judge while dismissing pre-arrest bails of Khan is drawing inferences and assumptions.” The PTI pointed out in its statement, how previously the Supreme Court of Pakistan had termed the arrest of Imran Khan, illegal and added: “We will challenge the verdict of the Anti-Terrorism Court.” The anti-terrorist courts in other parts of the country, including Rawalpindi, Sargodha etc have dismissed the case accusing Imran Khan of being the main accused of instigating the May 9 violent incidents, based on the fact that there is no evidence provided establishing the prosecution's point,” the PTI said.

The party also claimed that since Khan is in prison only in the Iddat case, “which is evidently coming to a conclusion” on the likely dismissal of rubbish claims by the complainant, it seems this is yet another politically motivated case to prolong the illegal incarceration of Khan.” Meanwhile, the party’s Parliamentary Committee decided that it would raise its voice for Khan and all the innocent prisoners at protests or rallies, starting the movement immediately.

“Parliamentary Leader Ms Zartaj Gul Wazir @zartajgulwazir presided over the discussion regarding the decisions made in the meeting of the Parliamentary Committee,” the PTI said in a post on its official X handle.

PTI core committee member Advocate Abuzar Salman Niazi said on X: “Absurd Order. Judge has declared Imran Khan is not innocent. Note: trial is still going on and no conviction is on record in this case. How can Imran Khan be declared guilty before completion of Trial. Where will principle of law (everyone is innocent until proven guilty). (sic)" PTI MZ NPK AKJ NPK NPK