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ISLAMABAD: Things aren’t looking too good for the leaders of Sunni Tehreek and other parties who led the D-Chowk sit-in, after the government decided to charge them under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).

A senior police officer told Dawn on Saturday that at least 10 new offences had been added to the two cases already registered against the leaders of the sit-in at Secretariat Police Station.

Sections 121, 122, 123, 124 of the Pakistan Penal Code — that deal with waging war against Pakistan and similar crimes against the state — and sections 6, 7, 8, 9 and 11W of the ATA, which deal with terrorism, stirring up sectarian hatred and hate speech, have been added to the FIRs. Most of these charges, especially those under the PPC, are punishable with a life sentence or the death penalty.

Sunni Tehreek leaders who delivered hate speeches were identified with the help of CCTV footage and their details obtained from Nadra, the officer said, adding that 10 leaders had been nominated in the case.

Islamabad police are also writing to law enforcers in other districts, including Karachi, for assistance in arresting those leaders who came to the capital for the sit-in. “We are also trying to identify supporters or activists who were brought to the capital forcibly and were not allowed to leave,” he said, adding that such people will be dealt with leniently.

Another officer told Dawn that the damage caused by the rampaging mob were also going to be recovered from the protesting leaders. “During negotiations between Sunni Tehreek leaders and ministers, one of the mediators — a wealthy businessman — had offered to pay for the damage, thinking it could not be more than Rs150 million or Rs160m.”

The protesters had demanded that cases of heinous crimes, registered against them and their colleagues in Karachi, be quashed, but there had been no such agreement.

Published in Dawn, April 3rd, 2016