Messaging groups being probed

Investigators track conversations of detained suspects in arson

Nouman Sheikh May 17, 2023


Investigators suspect that locations of sensitive installations and provocative messages were shared in WhatsApp groups after the arrest of former prime minister Imran Khan on May 9.

Police sources say that 169 WhatsApp groups allegedly involved in planning the response to the arrest that spiralled into lawlessness have been tracked. The mobile phone numbers, record and date of joint the groups are being checked by the police and other investigation agencies.

An official told The Express Tribune that the tracking of the suspected provocateurs through their WhatsApp accounts was also being tried and several members of the online communication groups had been identified.

WhatsApp messages and contacts of local Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (,PTI) leaders of Lahore are also being reviewed during the investigation into the destruction. Raids have also been carried out to arrest those involved in sharing provocative messages, the official said.

The police sources said the WhatsApp tracking was being done through the forensic analysis of the mobile phones of the detained suspects handed over to the Counter-Terrorism Department. The conversations of the persons who were in contact with the suspects will also be examined.

DIG Investigation Kamran Adil said in a news conference on Tuesday that state and government properties had been damaged on May 9 under the guise of protest. He said Lahore police had immediately launched a crackdown against those involved in attacks.

The official said the miscreants involved in the attack on the Jinnah House had been identified with the help of the Safe City Authority’s cameras, CCTV cameras and social media videos and images.

He said the Lahore police, CTD and Special Branch had jointly inspected all the technical evidence and arrested around 700 miscreants.

Special police teams are working on the cases and more arrests will be made.

Adil said such miscreants would be dealt with strictly and severely punished in accordance with the laws. He said setting fire on roads and desecrating and burning national property was not acceptable under any circumstances. The laws will take their course and such miscreants will be severely punished.

Adil said PTI chairman Imran Khan had been named in 80 per cent of the cases filed so far regarding the events and evidence was available with the police and related institutions about the central leaders of a political party also inciting people during the arson and siege as well as leading the mob to the Jinnah House.

According to CCPO Bilal Siddique Kamiana, miscreants had vandalised 27 vehicles Lahore police and damaged the Shadman police station.

The latest statistics released by the police show that 697 suspects in violent activities have been arrested and 38 FIRs registered, including 19 in Cantt, 10 in Model Town, seven in Civil Lines and two in the Saddar police division.

Of he cases, eight were registered in Sarwar Road police station, six in Gulberg, five in Race Course, four in North Cantonment, two each in Model Town, Mustafaabad and Mughalpura, and one each in Shadman, Nasirabad, Defence B, Defense C, Haer, Chuhng, South Cantonment, Baghbanpura and Mustafa Town police stations.

DIG Adil also said that one person had been identified and stolen property of Jinnah House recovered from him.

Despite the tense situation, not a single death during the incident had been reported, he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 17th, 2023.


Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ