Imran, other PTI leaders booked on terror charges over chaos outside Judicial Complex in Islamabad

Published March 19, 2023
Men walk past a burning police vehicle during clashes between the supporters of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and police in Islamabad, Pakistan on March 18, 2023. — Reuters
Men walk past a burning police vehicle during clashes between the supporters of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and police in Islamabad, Pakistan on March 18, 2023. — Reuters
Members of police in riot gear stand guard outside a court before the arrival of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan at the court in Islamabad, Pakistan on March 18, 2023. — Reuters
Members of police in riot gear stand guard outside a court before the arrival of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan at the court in Islamabad, Pakistan on March 18, 2023. — Reuters

The Islamabad Police have lodged a first information report (FIR) — including terrorism charges — against PTI Chairman Imran Khan and more than a dozen PTI leaders for allegedly attacking police officers and causing chaos outside the Federal Judicial Complex (FJC), it emerged on Sunday.

Hours-long clashes were reported between PTI workers and the capital police on Saturday after the former prime minister arrived at the FJC to attend a hearing in the Toshakhana case.

In the violent confrontation, a contingent of law enforcers and PTI supporters used anti-riot gear against each other with teargas used from both sides to push the opposing side back. The PTI used rocks against the police alongside petrol bombs to set their vehicles on fire.

The mob also set a police chowki on fire and during the confrontation over 25 officials were injured.

The same day, Ramna Police Station House Officer (SHO) Malik Rashid Ahmed registered an FIR at the Islamabad Counter Terrorism Department against Imran and other PTI leaders.

The complaint invoked sections 148 (rioting, armed with a deadly weapon), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 380 (theft in dwelling house, etc), 395 (punishment for dacoity), 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees), 435 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to cause damage to amount of one hundred rupees), 440 (mischief committed after preparation made for causing death or hurt) and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

It also included Section 7 (punishment for acts of terrorism) of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), 1997.

In the FIR, SHO Ahmed said that the PTI chief along with 17 other PTI leaders violated Section 144 — imposed in Islamabad yesterday — and blocked the road for traffic.

It named PTI Secretary General Asad Umar, former deputy speaker Asad Qaiser, leaders Hammad Azhar, Ali Amin Gandapur, Ali Nawaz Awan, Murad Saeed, Shibli Faraz, Hassaan Khan Niazi, Omer Ayub Khan, Amjad Khan Niazi, Khurram Nawaz, Jamshed Mughal, Aamir Kiyani, Farrukh Habib, Dr Shehzad Waseem, Umer Sultan and Imran’s Chief Security Officer retired lieutenant colonel Muhammad Asim.

The FIR also named 18 people involved in causing damage to the FJC, 22 others involved in causing damage in the FJC’s parking area and lighting up fires, and 19 others involved in allegedly injuring police officials. It also mentioned that stones, lighters and bottles filled with petrol were recovered from some of them.

SHO Ahmed claimed that PTI workers were armed with stones which they threw at a checkpost of the Dhok Kashmirian police station. They also burnt down barriers and tents at the checkpost.

“The charged crowd then surrounded the Judicial Complex from four sides, broke down its main gate, and then stoned the building until its windows were shattered,” the complaint stated.

It added that another group of PTI leaders set fire to 16 government and police vehicles and four motorcycles in the parking of the JDC. “They also took 9mm pistols, Rs20,000, and a wireless set from the car.”

The protesters, the FIR went on to say, snatched eight anti-riot kits from the policemen, hit police officers with sticks, and hurled stones at them.

Islamabad police arrests 60 individuals for Judicial Complex violence

In an update, the Islamabad police said a terrorism case was registered against PTI protesters at the CTD Police Station in the capital.

It added that 60 individuals were arrested and presented in court with more raids under way for further arrests.

Earlier, the Islamabad police said it had issued directives to estimate the damage done by PTI supporters outside the Judicial Complex.

In a tweet posted on early Sunday morning, it said: “Fifty-two policemen were injured from incited workers pelting stones at the officials of Islamabad Capital Police and other assisting forces at the appearance of PTI Chairman Imran Khan at the Judicial Complex.”

It added that 12 vehicles of the Islamabad police and three belonging to the Punjab police and Frontier Constabulary were damaged, among which four of the Islamabad police’s were “completely burned.”

In a separate tweet, the police shared pictures of the Islamabad IG Akbar Nasir Khan visiting the judicial complex at night where he met workers of various forces and lauded them for their efforts.

“Legal action will be taken against the elements involved in the protests,” it added.

PTI alleges police ‘harassing’ workers, leaders

Later in the day, PTI Secretary General Asad Umar alleged that there was a “large-scale operation” under way in Islamabad and the party’s workers were being arrested and their families harassed.

PTI senior leader Shireen Mazari alleged that Senator Shibli Faraz’s house was raided.

The party alleged that Faraz’s family members and servants were harassed by the police while the senator was admitted in a hospital for treatment.

Meanwhile, PTI Punjab leader Yasmin Rashid claimed that there were plans to “attack Zaman Park around 3am”.

Cases to be filed against policemen: Fawad

Earlier in the day, the PTI announced it would file cases against the police officials involved in the “illegal operation” at Imran’s Zaman Park residence in Lahore, a day after the Punjab police had broken into his house.

In a tweet today, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said, “Flouting court orders is unforgivable. The [Lahore] high court should guard its decisions. All those police officers who conducted the illegal operation and got involved in torture — we are filing cases against them.”

He added that a meeting of the party’s legal team has been called today to discuss the action plan moving forward.

The PTI leader further said: “The way the police entered Imran Khan’s residence flouting Lahore High Court’s verdict — all rules of home privacy were trampled, theft was done, even juice boxes were picked and taken away, innocent people were made a target of torture, whatever happened in Islamabad [as well] — all these incidents are an offshoot of the ongoing constitutional crisis in Pakistan.

Separately, in a video message posted on Sunday, PTI leader Yasmin Rashid condemned the “atrocity and torture done inside Imran Khan’s house” and called on the government to “act sensibly”.

“I think the government should act sensibly and realise what show are you putting of Pakistan right now,” Rashid said.

Once again claiming that the government was doing so because it did not want to hold elections, it asked the government to “act logically” and stop its “cheap tactics”

Chaos outside Imran’s residence

On Friday, the LHC had allowed Punjab Inspector General Dr Usman Anwar’s to search Imran’s Zaman Park residence for an investigation into attacks on police teams when they had gone there to execute warrants issued by an Islamabad court for Imran’s arrest in the Toshakhana case.

On Saturday, the Punjab police had used heavy machinery to break into Imran’s Zaman Park residence — while his wife and sister were inside — soon after the PTI chairman left for Islamabad to attend a hearing in the Toshakhana case.

Talking to reporters, Dr Uzma Khanum — sister of the former premier — while complaining about the police “highhandedness”, had said the police carried out the operation without warrants and harassed women and tortured servants.

Dr Kha­num had said the policemen “seemed blood-thirsty” as they brutally thrashed un­­a­rmed people in the house and alleged that the pol­ice also abducted her hus­­­band and some servants.

The PTI leadership had also strongly condemned the “state terrorism” launched at Imran’s house which they said was part of the agenda set by PML-N Chief Organiser Maryam Nawaz to arrest Imran.

Fawad had said the operation was in sheer violation of the LHC’s orders as the police did not inform the court’s nominated focal person Imran Kishwar before the raid.

He had further said the residence’s gates were razed with the help of excavators, while police officials scaled walls and tortured people inside the house.

Additionally, a day ago, Punjab Inspector General (IG) Dr Usman Anwar said that “ammunition” — including petrol bombs — was recovered from Imran’s Zaman Park residence in Lahore during the police raid.

He had said the police arrested people who were involved in “firing slingshots and pelting stones” on the police and cases under Section 7 of the ATA were registered against them.

Caretaker Punjab Information Minister Amir Mir had also said that cases were registered against the “rioting elements” as they had caused great damage to property.

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