A special committee of the federal cabinet has deliberated filing a sedition case against former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan and the chief ministers of Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for allegedly planning an "attack" on the federation during the party's 'Azadi March'.
According to an Interior Ministry statement reported by state-run APP yesterday, the meeting was chaired by Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and attended by Minister for Communication Maulana Asad Mahmood, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Kashmir Affairs Qamar Zaman Kaira, Minister for Economic Affairs Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Minister for Law Justice Azam Nazir Tarar and officials of the Islamabad police.
"The ministry briefed the committee over the PTI’s long march on May 25 and its formal plan to attack the federation," it stated.
The ministers also discussed filing a sedition case against Imran and the provincial chief executives under Section 124A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which criminalises words/expression which “brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection” towards the government.
“However, the committee postponed the meeting to deliberate over the matter further till June 6 to present its final recommendations before the federal cabinet,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, during the meeting, Sanaullah termed PTI’s long march "fitna (sedition)" and said it was a "riot march rather than a 'Haqeeqi Azadi March'".
"It was an armed attack on the federation, besides [being] a mutiny. Formal planning was done to hold the capital hostage on May 25," he alleged, further claiming that the PTI chairman incited his supporters through hate speeches against the state.
With a "plan", he pointed out, about "2,500 miscreants" were brought to Islamabad before May 25. "These miscreants tried to capture D-Chowk before the arrival of Imran Khan."
"The armed group not only attacked the police, Rangers and FC personnel, but set fire to trees and the metro station too. Imran Niazi also violated the May 25 decision of the Supreme Court," the minister added.
Imran Khan's march for 'haqeeqi azadi' — true freedom — on May 25 was preceded by the authorities invoking of Section 144, a measure used to curb gatherings. Shipping containers were put in place on major thoroughfares to block their path.
Read more: How Imran’s march came to an abrupt end
Undeterred by the moves, the marchers, who tried to force through the containers to make their way to Islamabad, were met with tear gas as police tried to disperse them. Police also charged at them with batons.
The march ended on March 26 without a sit-in at D-Chowk, which Imran promised would occur until dates for elections are announced. In a speech to supporters just short of D-Chowk, Imran told the government to announce dates for the elections, failing which he would return in six days.