Lahore police on Wednesday sought the arrest of PTI chief Imran Khan’s sisters Uzma and Aleema, and party leader Asad Umar in connection with the attack on Jinnah House on May 9.
The police made the request as an anti-terrorism court (ATC) heard the bail pleas of the suspects. The hearing was presided over by Judge Abhar Gul.
The PTI chief’s arrest on May 9 in Al-Qadir Trust case 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.
Sarwar Road police had registered the case of the attack on Jinnah House, which also serves as the residence of Lahore’s corps commander, following the property’s vandalisation during the riots.
In August, both Aleema and Uzma had appeared before the joint investigation team (JIT) to join the probe into the attacks on the military installations.
An official source said that the head of the JIT, DIG (investigation) Imran Kishwar, and other members of the team interrogated them. During the questioning, Uzma Khan reportedly confessed that she was there at the Jinnah House on May 9 while her sister Aleema Khan denied her presence there.
On September 19, a Lahore ATC had extended pre-arrest bail of all three in multiple cases pertaining to riots in the country on May 9. The suspects had filed bail petitions in cases of attacks on Jinnah House, Askari Tower in Gulberg, the torching of PML-N offices in Model Town and of a container near Kalma Chowk.
During today’s hearing, the investigating officer (IO), Inspector Muhammad Sarwar, told the court that all three suspects had been “found guilty” over the course of the probe, adding that the joint investigation team (JIT) had also held them responsible.
The IO said that police required the arrest of all three suspects for further investigations into the case. He further said that Aleema’s presence at the scene had also been confirmed.
However, Aleema’s lawyer Burhan Muazzam argued that his client and her sister Uzma had not been nominated in the case. To this, the IO said that they could show all the statements recorded under Section 161 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
The court subsequently summoned the lawyers to make their final arguments in the case. The court also extended the interim bails of all three suspects till October 16.
At one point, Aleema came to the rostrum and urged the court to grant them justice as she highlighted how she appeared before the courts on a daily basis.
“If justice will be granted after being sent to jail, then do it,” she said. However, she was stopped from speaking further by her lawyer.
Speaking to the media outside the ATC, Umar commented on the looming return of PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif. “Finally, I think Nawaz Sharif received medication,” he commented, adding that the ex-premier should have returned to the country a long time ago.
He said that on principle, Nawaz should directly go to jail after arriving back in Pakistan. Regarding elections, he said that the PTI would fully participate in the upcoming polls.
Meanwhile, Aleema told the media that the health of her brother — who has been in jail since August in a graft case — had suffered and that he also lost weight. She said that the PTI chairman did not have any place to walk or exercise, adding that a plea had been filed in this regard.
She also relayed a message from Imran, which claimed that preparations were under way to keep him jail for a long time in connection with the cipher case.