High-profile PTI politicians facing legal action since May 9 riots

It is a tale of arrests — and rearrests — of politicians in cases spanning the legal gamut.
Published September 9, 2023

In a series of cases following May 9, dozens of prominent PTI leaders were arrested on charges of inciting terrorism, arson, and public disorder. Some faced multiple arrests despite court orders. Others have been arrested in unrelated cases, but in what seems to be a targeted attack on politicians who have fallen out of favour with the powers that be.

As four months pass since that fateful day, Dawn.com has compiled data on high-profile PTI politicians who have been in legal trouble since then.

This list does not include leaders who have departed from the party since May 9.

Imran Khan

This image, from a video shared by the PTI on Twitter, shows Imran Khan being taken away by Rangers personnel from the Islamabad High Court on May 9. — Screengrab from video on PTI account on X
This image, from a video shared by the PTI on Twitter, shows Imran Khan being taken away by Rangers personnel from the Islamabad High Court on May 9. — Screengrab from video on PTI account on X

Date of first arrest: May 9 — Imran was whisked away by paramilitary Rangers from the Islamabad High Court (IHC). He was released on May 12 after the IHC barred authorities from arresting him in any case.

Case: Al Qadir Trust — NAB alleges the PTI government under Imran struck a deal with property tycoon Malik Riaz that caused a loss of more than $239 million to the national exchequer.

Second arrest: Aug 5 — Punjab police detained Imran from his Lahore residence after his conviction in the Toshkhana case. He has been in Attock jail since then.

Case: Toshakhana case — Imran was found guilty of concealing details of gifts he received from a state gift repository and for providing false and inaccurate information about them, as alleged by the Election Commission of Pakistan. He was sentenced to three years in jail and fined Rs100,000.

Aug 29: IHC suspended the Toshakhana sentence, but Imran was not released as it emerged that he was already on judicial remand in the cipher case.

Case: Cipher case — The FIA accuses him of breaching the Official Secrets Act in the matter of an allegedly missing diplomatic document that supposedly contained a US threat to oust Imran Khan from power.

Other cases: Imran is currently facing around 180 cases, according to a Dawn report.

Chaudhry Parvez Elahi

This screengrab shows PTI President Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi being dragged outside his residence in Lahore as he was arrested on June 1. — Screengrab via video shared by Wasim Riaz
This screengrab shows PTI President Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi being dragged outside his residence in Lahore as he was arrested on June 1. — Screengrab via video shared by Wasim Riaz

First arrest: June 1 — He was first arrested by the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) and police after a week-long siege of his house.

Case: ACE Gujrat accuses him of allegedly taking kickbacks in development projects.

Second arrest: June 2 — A Lahore judicial magistrate discharged the PTI leader and ordered his release, but the ACE re-arrested him in another case registered in Gujranwala.

Case: In the Gujranwala case, Elahi is accused of causing a Rs100m loss to the national exchequer and receiving kickbacks as Punjab chief minister.

Third arrest: June 3 — A Gujranwala court discharged Elahi in two corruption cases — including the one in which he was detained — but freedom eluded him as he was again arrested by anti-graft officials in yet another case.

Case: The case pertained to illegal recruitments of 12 Grade-17 officers in the Punjab Assembly, with Elahi being accused of getting the results of the testing service changed to select the candidates of his choice.

Fourth arrest: June 21 — The FIA took him into custody from jail in a money laundering case a day after he secured relief from an anti-corruption court in Lahore.

Case: The FIA accused the PTI president of money laundering through a front man and booked him along with his son, Moonis Elahi, and three others.

Fifth arrest: June 26 — A special court in Lahore granted Elahi bail in the case on June 25, but he was again arrested by the FIA outside Camp Jail in connection with another money laundering case.

Case: In this case, the FIA alleged that Elahi handed over Rs50m to a woman via a frontman for money laundering.

Sixth arrest: July 15 — Release orders in this case were issued by a Lahore Banking Crimes Court a week after it allowed his post-arrest bail. But he was not set free as police said he was booked in a terror case.

Case: The said case was registered at Lahore’s Ghalib Market police station under terrorism provisions. A 30-day detention order under Section 3 of the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) was also issued for Elahi on July 16 by the Lahore deputy commissioner.

Seventh arrest: Aug 14 — Upon completion of his detention under MPO, a NAB team arrested Elahi from Rawalpindi’s Adiala jail — where he was taken on July 19, reportedly on administrative grounds — in yet another graft case.

Case: The NAB alleged Elahi received bribes/kickbacks in exchange for getting the “contracts of road schemes of Gujrat Highways Division awarded to favourite/hand-picked contractors”.

Eighth arrest: Sept 1 — Fifteen days later, the Lahore High Court directed NAB to release him and barred authorities from arresting him in any case, but Islamabad police arrested him anyway.

Case: Police said he was held under 3-MPO on a magistrate’s orders. The order said Elahi should be detained for 15 days.

Ninth arrest: Sept 6 — The detention order was suspended by the IHC but Elahi was arrested yet again by the police the same day.

Case: The arrest was made in a case pertaining to clashes between Islamabad police and PTI workers outside the Judicial Complex on March 18.

The incarcerated PTI leader remains behind bars and continues to face inquiries and proceedings in several cases, with at least four registered with ACE. A Dawn report says he has been arrested at least 11 times since the start of June.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi

Shah Mahmood Qureshi.—DawnNewsTV/file
Shah Mahmood Qureshi.—DawnNewsTV/file

First arrest: May 11 — PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi, among several other current and former party leaders, was detained by Islamabad police two days after Imran’s arrest.

Case: He was arrested for allegedly “inciting arson and violent protests under a well-thought-out plan for threatening peace” on May 9.

Second arrest: May 23 — When he was set free, Punjab police immediately re-arrested him outside Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail after his detention orders were issued by the Rawalpindi deputy commissioner. The LHC ordered his release on June 6.

Third arrest: Aug 19 — A little over two months later, he was again arrested in Islamabad — this time by the FIA — in the same cipher case as the PTI chief and remains in custody to date.

Hassaan Khan Niazi

Hassaan Khan Niazi. — Photo via Hassan Niazi/Twitter
Hassaan Khan Niazi. — Photo via Hassan Niazi/Twitter

First arrest: Aug 13 — Imran’s nephew and PTI leader Barrister Hassaan Khan Niazi, who had been hiding to evade arrest since May 9 riots, was arrested from Abbottabad and handed over to the Quetta Police. On August 18, he was handed over to the military for trial.

Case: Hassaan was one of the main suspects in the attack on Jinnah House attack case. The military alleges that Niazi was involved in the commission of offences that violate the Official Secrets Act 1923 and can be tried under military courts under the Pakistan Army Act 1952.

Dr Yasmin Rashid

PTI leader Yasmin Rashid photographed outside an anti-terrorism court in Lahore on June 3 after her acquittal in the Jinnah House attack case. — DawnNewsTV
PTI leader Yasmin Rashid photographed outside an anti-terrorism court in Lahore on June 3 after her acquittal in the Jinnah House attack case. — DawnNewsTV

First arrest: May 12 — PTI leader Dr Yasmin Rashid, along with 17 other women, was initially detained in Lahore.

Case: She was taken into custody under the MPO in connection with May 9 violence and protests.

Second arrest: May 14 — The LHC ordered her release two days later, but she was re-arrested the same day in May 9-linked cases.

Case: The three cases include vandalism at Jinnah House in Lahore. An ATC discharged Rashid in the case on June 3, but she remained in custody in other cases.

Currently, Rashid faces court proceedings in multiple cases pertaining to the May 9 violence.

Asad Umar

This screengrab shows Asad Umar being taken into custody by the Islamabad Police on May 10, 2023. — DawnNewsTv
This screengrab shows Asad Umar being taken into custody by the Islamabad Police on May 10, 2023. — DawnNewsTv

First arrest: May 10 — PTI leader Asad Umar was first arrested from IHC premises under the MPO and released on May 24.

Case: Scant details are available about the case in which he was arrested.

Umar is also facing an inquiry in the cipher case registered against Imran.

Ali Muhammad Khan

Ali Muhammad Khan speaks to the media outside Mardan ATC. — Photo via PTI/Twitter
Ali Muhammad Khan speaks to the media outside Mardan ATC. — Photo via PTI/Twitter

First arrest: May 11 — PTI leader Ali Muhammad was first arrested by Secretariat police in Islamabad under 3-MPO.

Case: The arrest was made in connection with the violence that took place on May 9.

Second arrest: May 17 — He was re-arrested in Jhelum immediately after he was released on the IHC’s directives. Scarce details are available about the case in which he was arrested this time.

Third arrest: May 30 — He was arrested a third time by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police from outside Adiala Jail after the LHC’s Rawalpindi bench ordered his release the same day.

Case: The PTI leader was arrested the 3-MPO this time as well.

Fourth arrest: June 9 — The Peshawar High Court set aside the detention order on June 8 and the next day, a Mardan ATC ordered his release in all cases pertaining to the May 9 violence. But he was re-arrested by the ACE immediately after his release.

Case: The ACE arrested the former federal minister in a case pertaining to alleged fake hirings to the fisheries department and causing losses to the treasury.

Fifth arrest: June 27 — He was granted bail by a sessions court in Mardan, only to be re-arrested under the 3-MPO yet again on the deputy commissioner’s orders.

Khan was eventually released on July 27 on the PHC’s directives after nearly 80 days of incarceration. While media reports show that he was arrested at least five times in the aftermath of May 9, the PTI said he was detained eight times following the episode.

Ejaz Chaudhry

Senior PTI leader Ejaz Chaudhry. — Dawn News
Senior PTI leader Ejaz Chaudhry. — Dawn News

First arrest: May 11 — PTI leader Ejaz Chaudhry, too, was arrested for the first time on May 11.

Case: He was taken into custody under the 3-MPO in connection with May 9 violence.

Second arrest: May 25 — The IHC declared his detention under the MPO invalid, following which he was re-arrested and taken to Lahore.

He continues to face proceedings in multiple cases pertaining to May 9 and remains behind bars.

Firdous Shamim Naqvi

PTI leader Firdous Shamim Naqvi. — Radio Pakistan
PTI leader Firdous Shamim Naqvi. — Radio Pakistan

First arrest: May 14 — Former leader of opposition in the Sindh Assembly Firdous Shamim Naqvi was taken into police custody in Karachi and has remained in detention since.

Case: Naqvi, along with other PTI workers, has been booked for allegedly staging violent protests on Karachi’s Sharea Faisal, blocking the thoroughfare, resorting to rioting and causing damage to government and private property following Imran’s arrest on May 9.

Shehryar Khan Afridi

PTI leader Shehryar Afridi talks to the media outside an Islamabad sessions court on June 17. — Screengrab from video on Twitter/PTIofficial
PTI leader Shehryar Afridi talks to the media outside an Islamabad sessions court on June 17. — Screengrab from video on Twitter/PTIofficial

First arrest: May 16 — PTI leader Sheharyar Afridi was initially arrested from his residence in Islamabad.

Case: He was arrested under the MPO in relation to the May 9 protests.

Second arrest: May 30 — He was released from prison two weeks later but was immediately re-arrested by Rawalpindi police.

Case: The second arrest was made on the Rawalpindi deputy commissioner’s order after police accused him of instigating/planning to organise unlawful assembly/commit violence, and deliver unlawful speeches to cause damage to human life and public/private properties.

Third arrest: Aug 3 — Afridi was granted bail by the LHC’s Rawalpindi bench but was picked up by Rawalpindi police immediately after his release from Adiala Jail.

Case: He was arrested in a case registered at Rawalpindi’s New Town police in connection with the May 9 violence.

On Aug 16, the IHC allowed the PTI leader to go home as it heard his plea against their prolonged detentions under the MPO.

Shandana Gulzar

Former PTI MNA Shandana Gulzar. — National Assembly website
Former PTI MNA Shandana Gulzar. — National Assembly website

First arrest: May 9 — PTI leader Shandana Gulzar was taken into custody by police on May 9 in connection with violent protests after Imran’s arrest. On August 16, the IHC ordered her released while hearing her plea against detention under the MPO.

Omar Sarfaraz Cheema

Omer Sarfraz Cheema. — Dawn News
Omer Sarfraz Cheema. — Dawn News

First arrest: May 10 — Former Punjab governor Omar Sarfaraz Cheema was arrested reportedly by the ACE during a raid at his house and has remained in custody since.

On Sep 9, an ATC in Lahore extended his physical remand in a case pertaining to May 9 violence till September 14.

Haleem Adil Sheikh

PTI leader Haleem Adil Sheikh addressing the media in 2021. — APP
PTI leader Haleem Adil Sheikh addressing the media in 2021. — APP

First arrest: Aug 30 — PTI leader resident Haleem Adil was arrested by Karachi police from outside the Sindh High Court and sent to prison on judicial remand.

Case: Sheikh, among the PTI leaders, has been nominated in cases after the May 9 riots for allegedly facilitating and inciting violence and arson attacks on public and private properties and causing terror.

Falak Naz

Senator Falak Naz. — Senate website
Senator Falak Naz. — Senate website

First arrest: May 10 — PTI Senator Falak Naz was initially arrested in connection with May 9 protests under the MPO.

Second arrest: May 16 — After the IHC directed the authorities to release them from Adiala Jail, she was re-arrested from outside the jail.