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JIT formed on ‘riots’ in courts as Sanaullah accuses PTI of spreading anarchy

Culprits will be tried in ATC, team will present findings in 14 days
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah makes an announcement during live address on March 23, 2023. Screengrab via YouTube/PTV News
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah makes an announcement during live address on March 23, 2023. Screengrab via YouTube/PTV News

The federal government has formed a joint investigation team on riots“ in courts when PTI chief Imran Khan appeared before it along with a “gang of miscreants” over the past two weeks in Islamabad, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said on Thursday.

“The JIT present its findings within 14 days [a given time to complete investigation in terrorism cases],” he said in an announcement on Pakistan Television (PTV).

Special Branch Punjab Additional IG Zulfiqar Hameed will lead the team, comprising members from intelligence agencies: Inter-Services Intelligence, Intelligence Bureau, and Military Intelligence. The Islamabad headquarters DIG will also be a member.

Sanaullah described the JIT as a team of “most senior, experienced, honest and well-reputed officers”. In two weeks, the team would present a challan in court against those who committed terrorist acts and attacked courts.

The high-powered members would conduct inquiries into the allegations of attacks on the courts, torching of vehicles in the court premises, damaging state properties, injuring law enforcement agencies personnel, and hurling stones at policemen when former prime minister Khan appeared in court over the past two weeks.

For such crimes, the government has blamed a “group of armed people” apparently belonging to the PTI chief. Many first information reports have also been registered against such people, invoking Section 7 (punishment for acts of terrorism) of the Anti-Terrorism Act along with many charges in such cases.

The PTI chief appeared in cases pertaining to foreign funding, state gifts, and Tyrion White in the recent past. Khan, who had been skipping hearings fearing arrest, attended the courts when he was given an ultimatum.

But, the government has claimed that Imran’s attendance along with a large number of supporters was an attempt to influence the court’s ruling. An accusation the PTI has denied and blamed the caretaker government of Punjab and the ruling coalition for attacking their supporters.

“There were premeditated attacks on courts by Imran Khan and his gang of armed people,” Sanaullah said before announcing that the government has decided to proceed in the “right direction” by investigating miscreants who damaged the court properties and injured security forces.

“These suspects including Imran are culprits and should be tried in anti-terrorism courts so that they are punished,” he added.

The interior minister claimed that they have the record, which apparently proved that the intended ticket holders of PTI were asked to send at least 50 people outside Zaman Park, Khan’s Lahore residence, and attack police.

“A fair investigation will be conducted and they will be brought in a court of law,” Sanaullah said.

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Interior Minister

Rana Sanaullah