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May 9 violence: ATC issues non-bailable warrants for KP CM, others

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ISLAMABAD: the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC), Rawalpindi Judge Malik Ijaz Asif issued arrest warrants for the Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Ali Amin Gandapur, in connection with May 9 violence when rioters attacked military installations.

The court issued the warrants, which are non-bailable, for the chief minister, ordering the police to produce him before the court by April 2. ATC Judge Malik Ijaz Asif also issued the warrants for Murad Saeed, Shireen Mazari, Shehbaz Gill, and Shibli Faraz in the case registered against them at City Police Station, Rawalpindi. The judge ordered the authorities to produce the KP chief minister before the court on April 2 at any cost. PTI leaders, including former prime minister Imran Khan and foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, were booked in May last year after party workers attacked military installations during protests that erupted after Khan was arrested in a corruption case.

The Peshawar High Court earlier directed the federal government to furnish details of cases against Ali Amin Gandapur. A high court bench, consisting of Justice Ishtiaq Ibrahim and Justice Shakeel Ahmed, heard a petition filed by KP Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur seeking information about the cases against him. “Has this issue not been resolved yet?” Justice Shakeel Ahmed queried. “The problems persist; we are unaware of the cases registered in Punjab,” stated counsel Arshad Ahmed. “If he is involved in any case in Punjab, he should seek bail,” remarked Justice Shakeel.

“We will approach the courts once we have the details. They have not provided us with any written information regarding the cases,” Gandapur’s lawyer explained. “There are two inquiries against him in D.I.Khan,” mentioned FIA’s Director Legal Abdul Rehman. “He holds the position of chief minister, and the people of the province have placed their trust in him,” asserted Justice Ishtiaq Ibrahim. “The people have elected him, and he currently governs the province,” Justice Ibrahim added. “It’s hard to believe you cannot give him details. Provide the petitioner with information about the cases filed against him,” the bench ordered.

In another development, former prime minister Imran Khan has been acquitted of charges in two cases related to the May 25 long march and vandalism during the event in Islamabad.

Judicial Magistrate Islamabad Shaista Kundi pronounced a reserved verdict on the plea for acquittal. The cases, registered against the former prime minister in Sihala and Lohi Bher police stations, stemmed from allegations of involvement in long march vandalism.

During the court proceedings, the PTI founder’s lawyer, Naeem Panjotha, requested that Imran Khan be presented before it. The judge asked who would be responsible if anything happened to him while he was brought to court. Panjotha said providing security was the government’s job, adding that he wanted to present his arguments with the PTI founder. The judge said attendance was necessary in case of a bail application, not for acquittal. She then rejected Imran Khan’s production request.

Furthermore, Panjotha argued that his client had been accused in all the cases, and it all happened on his behalf. He added that many cases were filed on the same day. He further claimed that the implementation of Section 144 was neither notified nor informed about.

“The plaintiff is an SHO who has no authority to register the case,” the counsel argued. He further said that there were no witness statements in any of the cases registered against Imran Khan and that his client had been acquitted in several other cases.

On May 27, 2022, the Islamabad police filed separate cases against 150 people, including the PTI chairman Imran Khan, and other party leaders, including Asad Umar and Asad Qaiser, over allegations of arson and vandalism in the federal capital.

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