May 9 riots: Lahore ATC indicts Yasmin Rashid, Ejaz Chaudhry, Rubina Jamil for ‘vandalism’ of police vehicles
A Lahore Anti-terrorism court on Tuesday indicted PTI leaders Yasmin Rashid, Senator Ejaz Chaudhry and ex-MPA Rubina Jamil in a case of alleged vandalism of police vehicles and assault on the police.
PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s arrest on May 9 in the 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.
While the ex-premier was released a few days later (he has since been rearrested in the Toshakhana, cipher and now Al-Qadir Trust cases), scores of PTI workers and almost the entire top-tier leadership were rounded up, with many still facing court proceedings under serious charges.
In August, 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 had 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.
Joint investigation teams constituted to investigate the May 9 violence had declared more than 900 activists — including the former premier and other party bigwigs such as Rashid — as prime suspects in a dozen cases and had submitted challans (charge sheets) to this effect in an ATC.
Earlier this month, the Lahore High Court had directed the Punjab Home Department to provide better jail class to Chaudhry, days after an ATC was informed that the senator was not brought from jail for health reasons.
The Punjab police also launched a fresh crackdown on workers and activists of the PTI and made several arrests from various parts of the country.
Last week, a Lahore ATC had extended the judicial remand of Jamil, days after the LHC had granted her post-arrest bail in a case of alleged attack on the security squad of a sitting Supreme Court judge during the May 9 riots.
A day ago, Rashid and Omar Sarfaraz Cheema were arrested on a fresh first information report pertaining to attacking the Prime Minister’s House in Lahore. The ATC had denied the police’s request for her physical remand and had sent her on judicial remand.
The copies of the charge sheet had been distributed to the suspects during the previous hearing. The Sarwar Road police have registered two cases against the accused.
Today, Judge Abhar Gul presided over the hearing, where the accused pleaded not guilty to the offences.
The ATC summoned the witnesses in the case on Dec 16 to record their testimonies.