Vandalism of courts: Govt forms JIT to probe cases against Imran, PTI workers

Published March 23, 2023
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah addresses the media on March 23,2023. — Screengrab
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah addresses the media on March 23,2023. — Screengrab

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah on Thursday announced the formation of a joint investigation team (JIT) to probe cases against ex-premier Imran Khan and PTI workers for allegedly attacking and vandalising courts in Islamabad.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, the interior minister said that Imran had been summoned to the Federal Judicial Complex (FJC) and the Islamabad High Court (IHC) in the Toshakhana, foreign funding and Tyrian White cases.

He said that in an effort to hinder proceedings and to force the courts to bend to their wishes, Imran appeared before the courts on February 28 alongside an “armed gang” which then “attacked” the judicial complex.

“These people entered the judicial complex forcefully. They broke the main gate. They went inside and broke all the CCTV cameras leading up to the courtroom,” he said, that such a scenario was created where the courts could not function.

He said that a case was registered in the aftermath at Islamabad’s Ramna police station under terror and various other charges.

“To carry out such hooliganism on court premises […] is no less than terrorism,” he said.

Sanaullah went on to say that Imran also did the same when he visited the IHC and a separate case was registered at the same police station, also under terror charges.

The minister said that the PTI chief appeared at the FJC again on March 18 alongside an armed gang which then attacked law enforcement officials deputed to protect the courts.

“They again tried to enter the judicial complex. They weren’t allowed to do so but in that time, [civilians] and police officials were injured while state property was also damaged,” he said.

Sanaullah said that two more cases were registered against Imran and PTI workers at Islamabad’s Counter-Terrorism Department police station and Golra police station.

“All those people who were active in attacking courts and law enforcement agencies, including Imran Niazi, will be arrested and their cases will be tried in anti-terrorism courts,” Sanaullah maintained.

He said that a JIT had been formed to probe all four cases, adding that the team would finalise a report within 14 days and present a challan in the courts.

He said the JIT would be headed by Punjab Special Branch Additional IG Zulfiqar Hameed and comprise one official each, not below BPS-18, from the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Military Intelligence (MI) and the Intelligence Bureau (IB). Islamabad DIG Headquarters Awais Ahmed would also be a part of the JIT.

The minister said the JIT comprised “senior, experienced and reputable” officers. “The criminals who have carried out terrorism and attacked the courts” would be brought before the law, he said.

Sanaullah claimed there were call records which showed that the PTI told leaders that they would not be given party tickets if they failed to gather a crowd that would pelt stones at officials.

“We have the telephone records where the main people of Imran’s armed gang are categorically giving people threats […] This is how people were gathered to attack the courts and the judicial complex,” Sanaullah said, vowing that the JIT would conduct a fair investigation.

The minister lambasted Imran for propagating lies by accusing the Islamabad and Punjab police chiefs of planning an attack against him. “No one else can lie and do this kind of propaganda.”

Sanaullah said Imran was heading down this path in an effort to spread anarchy and chaos in the country so that he couldn’t be held accountable for his crimes.

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