LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan on Friday appeared before the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing the May 9 violence and told it that his party had a plan to lodge peaceful protests in the cantonment areas.
He, however, blamed the PDM government for attacks on military installations, saying it had ‘manipulated’ the situation on May 9 just to defame the PTI and use force against him, his party leaders and workers.
An official privy to the development said the JIT grilled the PTI chairman for about 50 minutes at the DIG Investigation headquarters.
The team members put 35 questions regarding Mr Khan’s role/involvement in managing the alleged attacks on the Corps Commander House and other military installations in Lahore.
He said the question that irritated the former prime minister the most was why the timing, targets, and modus operandi was the same when the PTI workers carried out attacks on military installations throughout the country.
In response to the question, Imran Khan repeated his stance that “all was done by the state machinery to defame and malign me and my party’s men,” the official source said.
Answering a question about the involvement of PTI’s first-tier leadership in the May 9 attacks, the former prime minister claimed that the government had already planned to arrest them and it did so as per its ‘previous strategy’.
The official source further said that during investigation the former prime minister told the JIT members (in a warning tone) that his party (PTI) would come to power in coming elections.
He said Imran Khan probably wanted to alert the JIT officers to be ‘neutral or be careful’ while questioning or investigating him and his party leaders and workers in terrorism cases.
The official said JIT also questioned PTI’s two senior leaders Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Asad Umar separately.
They had also been summoned by the team in the wake of the May 9 cases registered against them in Lahore, the source said, adding that the JIT let Imran Khan and others leave after they recorded their statements.
Headed by Lahore Investigation DIG Kamran Adil, the JIT had issued summons to the former prime minister to appear before it at 4pm on Friday.
“Imran Khan is required to attend the office of the DIG Investigation to join the investigation proceedings entrusted to the JIT formed by the Punjab government,” read the summon notice issued by the Lahore DIG (investigation).
The official said Kamran Adil had proceeded abroad to attend a course and SSP Imran Kishwar headed the JIT on Friday to investigate Mr Khan, Mr Qureshi and Mr Umar.
Imran Khan has been accused of instigating the attackers who vandalised and torched the Corps Commander House and other installations while he was under arrest.
He was nominated in 10 cases registered at various police stations of Lahore in the wake of the May 9 attacks. Later, Mr Umar confirmed to the media that Imran Khan had recorded his statement at the DIG investigation headquarters office on Friday.
Published in Dawn, July 15th, 2023