PTI chief Imran Khan, top party leaders booked

FIRs include charges of arson and vandalism

Our Correspondent May 27, 2022


Islamabad police on Thursday filed separate cases against 150 people including PTI Chairman Imran Khan, Asad Umar, Asad Qaiser and other leaders of his party over allegations of arson and vandalism in the federal capital a day earlier.

The footage of the Safe City cameras as well those from private TV news channels have been included in the challans of the cases as evidence.

At least 39 people have been taken into custody so far after identifying them from the footage.

Two FIRs were registered at Kohsar police station over the complaint of Sub-Inspector Asif Raza and Sub-Inspector Ghulam Sarwar under Sections 109 (abetment), 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly), 186 (obstructing public service), 188 (disobedience), 353 (assault on public servant), 427 (causing damage) and 435 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to cause damage) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

SI Raza stated in his FIR that he was patrolling with his other police personnel near Jinnah Avenue's China Chowk when at 11pm, around 100-150 people with PTI flags suddenly moved towards Express Chowk. He added that the police tried to stop the PTI supporters due to the imposition of Section 144 in Islamabad but they did not listen and instead pelted stones at the police officers and also set fire to trees.

The SI said 36 individuals, who were acting at the "behest of Imran and other PTI leadership", were "brought under control".

In the other FIR, SI Sarwar stated  that he and other police officers were on duty at Express Chowk when at 12:30am, around 100-150 PTI protesters, equipped with rods and inflammatory material, chanted slogans, incited people and set fire to the trees and Metro Bus station near Geo Chowk. He added that the protesters also smashed the mirrors of the office of a private TV news channel.

He further stated in the FIR as the police tried to disperse the crowd, the PTI activists resorted to pelting stones and also damaged a government bus. He added that 39 individuals were later arrested.

The FIR filed on SI Sarwar's complaint named the PTI chief as well as Asad Umar, Imran Ismail, Raja Khurram Nawaz, Ali Amin Gandapur, Ali Nawaz Awan and other party leaders.

The FIRs stated that the PTI activists invaded Blue Area and D-Chowk and injured several policemen by pelting stones. A gun was also recovered from the vehicle of a PTI activist.

A senior police official told The Express Tribune that although protest is a democratic right of everyone, there were clear and strict orders from the federal government not to ignore the process of challenging the writ of the State under its guise.

He added that damaging public property and attacking security staff was a very dangerous phenomenon which must be stopped at all costs.

The official said provisions had been added to the cases for each offense, which has irrefutable evidence in the form of videos.

“They [videos] are being made part of the challan of the cases and they will be presented in the court.”


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