JIT summons Imran in May 9 cases today

LAHORE, May 30 : PTI Chairman and former premier Imran Khan has been summoned by a joint investigation team (JIT) on Tuesday (today) in a probe into the attacks on the Lahore corps commander’s house – also known as Jinnah House – and other military installations on May 9.

The PTI chief is required to appear before the probe body – led by Lahore DIG Investigations Kamran Adil – at the Investigations Headquarters, Qila Gujjar Singh, at 4pm.

The team will record the PTI chief’s statement in violence cases, pertaining to attacks on Jinnah House and Askari Tower.

Sources maintained that Imran had received the JIT summons and that he had consulted his legal team on the matter.

Until the filing of this report, it was not decided whether the PTI chairman would appear before the investigation body or not.

The Punjab government had constituted over a dozen JITs to probe into the May 9 incidents following which several cases were registered against the PTI leaders and workers, including the PTI chief at Sarwar Road, Shadman, Gulberg and other police stations.

On May 9, in an unprecedented show of vandalism, protestors allegedly belonging to the PTI, vandalised public and state properties and even attacked the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi and Lahore corps commander’s residence.

The attack occurred hours after the paramilitary Rangers arrested Imran in the Al-Qadir Trust corruption case, later retitled as National Crime Agency £190 million scandal, on the orders of the National Accountability Bureau, from the Islamabad High Court premises.

The rioting was followed by a harsh crackdown against the former ruling party leaders and workers that still continues.

However, on May 11, the Supreme Court came to Imran’s rescue, declaring that his arrest was “illegal”, ordering his release.

On May 12, the IHC stopped the authorities from arresting the PTI chairman in any case, including undisclosed ones, filed against him anywhere in the country till May 15.

It also granted the PTI chief interim bail for two weeks in the National Crime Agency £190 million scandal.

The army termed the events of May 9 a “dark chapter” in the country’s history, announcing its intent to try the protesters under relevant laws, including two military laws — the Pakistan Army Act and Official Secrets Act.

The decision was backed by the National Security Committee (NSC) – country’s top security panel. It was approved by the federal cabinet wherein it was decided that the protesters, who ransacked and vandalised military installations, would be tried under the Army Act and the Official Secrets Act.

The decision was widely condemned by local and international rights organisations, including from within the ruling coalition, warning that the move was against democratic principles.

The Amnesty International also expressed its concerns over the decision to try May 9 rioters under the army act, saying “using military courts to try civilians is a clear violation of international law”.

Later, the PTI moved the Supreme Court against trying civilians in military courts, calling the decision a “clear violation” of the constitutional guarantees of due process and fair trial.

“Such trials are highly deprecated internationally and widely considered as falling short of providing fair trial,” the petition stated.

Following their arrests and rearrests, several PTI lawmakers, including Shireen Mazari, Fawad Chaudhry, Asad Umar and Maleeka Bokhari, distanced themselves from the party, condemning the May 9 riots.

Meanwhile, the Lahore High Court (LHC) sought arguments on the maintainability of a plea requesting the formation of a JIT to conduct “fair probe” into the incidents of May 9.

Petitioner Afzal Pahat’s counsel argued before Justice Shahid Bilal Hassan that the PTI staged peaceful protests, which later created a law and order situation.

He maintained that some miscreants set the state properties ablaze, attacked military installations, and disgraced the monuments.

He contended that creating a law and order situation had never been the motto of the PTI, questioning how the party’s workers could set the public property on fire.

He requested the court to issue directions to the quarters concerned to constitute a JIT to conduct a fair probing into the May 9 happenings.

The law officer told the court that the matter was still pending before the Supreme Court.

The petitioner’s counsel replied that this matter was not pending before any judge.

Justice Hassan asked how the LHC could hear the matter which was pending before the apex court.

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