A Lahore anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Saturday granted police a five-day physical remand of PTI leaders Dr Yasmin Rashid and Omar Sarfaraz Cheema after authorities tacked on fresh charges against all suspects involved in the May 9 violence.
Party chairman Imran Khan’s arrest on May 9 had resulted in widespread violence and saw important military installations come under attack, on the basis of which the state had launched a severe crackdown against his party.
Last month, the police had added new offences in all May 9 cases under sections 121 (waging or attempting to wage a war or abetting in waging of war against Pakistan), 131 (abetting mutiny, or attempting to seduce a soldier, sailor or airman from his duty) and 146 (rioting) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).
Other offences under sections 120 (concealing design to commit offence punishable with imprisonment), 120-A (definition of criminal conspiracy), 120-B (punishment of criminal conspiracy), 121-A (conspiracy to commit offences punishable by Section 121, i.e waging or attempting to wage war or abetting waging of war against Pakistan), 505 (statements conducing to public mischief), 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot), 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups, etc), 153-B (inducing students, etc, take part in political activity) and 107 (abetment of a thing) of the PPC had also been added in the first information reports (FIRs).
The said FIRs included those pertaining to attacks on the Corps Commander House, Askari Tower, the Shadman police station, and the torching of PML-N party offices in Model Town on May 9.
The case against Rashid heard today pertains to incendiary speeches she allegedly delivered on May 9 against state institutions at the city’s Sherpao Bridge and to rioting in the wake of Imran’s arrest.
ATC Judge Abhar Gul Khan conducted the hearing on the police’s request for fresh physical remand in light of the new charges.
The police informed the court of the new offences that had been added to the FIR registered at the Sarwar police station, which included mutiny, inciting people to riot and attempting to wage a war against the state.
It urged the court to grant a 30-day physical remand of the PTI Punjab president as an investigation was required based on the new allegations against her.
The plea submitted to the court stated: “The accused was interrogated after addition of offences of mutiny and waging of war. As the offences being heinous in nature need deep investigation, hence, the request of IO (investigation officer) is forwarded.”
Subsequently, the ATC granted the police Rashid’s five-day physical remand and directed the IO to “join accused with investigation at jail premises”. It also ordered the IO to present the elderly leader before the ATC on September 14.
On August 28, in light of the new charges, a Lahore ATC had granted police a three-day physical remand of Rashid in another case pertaining to attacking and burning Shadman police station during the May 9 riots.
The court had also allowed the Sarwar Road police fresh physical remand of 68 PTI leaders and activists for three days in the corps commander residence attack case.
On September 5, a Lahore High Court (LHC) division bench had dismissed post-arrest bail petitions of Rashid and others in the Shadman police station case.
Omar Cheema’s 5-day physical remand
Meanwhile, an ATC also granted a five-day physical remand of former Punjab governor Cheema and fashion designer Khadeeja Shah in a case pertaining to vandalism at Lahore’s Askari Tower on May 9.
ATC Judge Abhar Gul Khan presided over this hearing as well, during which the police again sought a 30-day physical remand of both suspects, citing the fresh charges added to the FIR. However, the ATC approved physical remand for five days.
The order issued by the ATC, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, stated that the perusal of the record revealed that the IO’s initial request “to the extent of recovery of firearm weapon from accused Umer Sarfraz Cheema” and mobile phone from Shah was “not allowed by the court”.
It further said that “to the extent of recovery of firearm weapon and mobile phone”, the matter was pending before the Lahore High Court.
Therefore, it said, the ATC was only granting a five-day physical remand to the extent of sections 120, 121, 121-A, 107, 146, 131, 153 and 153-B of the PPC.
The ATC directed the IO to join the “accused with investigation at jail premises” and ordered that the two suspects be presented before the court on September 14 as well.