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Government hands over 33 May 9 suspects to military

Interior Minister says 499 FIRs registered over May 9 protests
Rana Sanaullah makes important revelations about the arrested accused of May 9 - Aaj News

The government has handed over 33 suspects to be tried in military courts following the attacks on army installations during violent protests in support of former prime minister Imran Khan, the interior minister said on Friday.

“Only 19 accused had been handed over to the military in Punjab and 14 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah told reporters. “The accused who are being handed over to the military are those who trespassed and entered very sensitive defense installations.”

Protests flared across Pakistan after Khan’s arrest on May 9, and while he was subsequently released on bail on numerous charges, including graft, his confrontation with the country’s powerful generals has escalated.

Protesters stormed military installations, including the house of a top general in Lahore, which was set ablaze. Thousands of people, most of them Khan’s supporters have been rounded up since.

Military courts are closed to outsiders, and no media is allowed. Rights groups have criticised the secretive nature of the process.

“The facts and figures I will produce in front of you, I am presenting it with full responsibility. I take full responsibility for that. If there is any difference to it you can confront me but you should accept these facts as they are very serious matter,” said Sanaullah.


  • 499 FIRs were registered
  • 88 cases – out of 499 – were registered under Anti-Terrorism Act
  • 411 cases were registered under other laws
  • 3,946 people – 2,588 in Punjab and 1,099 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – were arrested under ATA
  • 5,536 people have been arrested in other cases. Almost 80% have been freed on bail.
  • Only 6 FIRs – out of 499 – are being processed. Two are being processed in Punjab and four in KP. A possible trial of this could be done in military court.

“An atmosphere was being created as if everything would be tried in the military courts,” he said.

The interior minister went on to add that the military authorities would investigate the case but would not take “cognisance” of it. “They will see where the Army Act or the Official Secrets Act applies,” he said.

What is the procedure

The interior minister explained the procedure of the trial in a military court.

  • The military officials that investigate the case
  • They will see where Army Act or the Officials Secret Act will be implemented.
  • If in one ATA case there are 300 suspects, out of which 10 are like those who fall where the Official Secrets Act or Army Act were violated so that action, the military trial will be limited to that. The rest of the cases which range from 290 to 291 will be run in ordinary courts.

“Official Secrets Act and Army Act of 1952 is implemented where any building or part of that building or any office or any area whose purpose is related to defence where there are sensitive installations are present which is related to country’s defence,” he said.

“If anyone trespasses there, enters there or provokes someone to enter there or helps someone to enter so they will be guilty of the Official Secrets Act and different sections of the Army Act. They are punishable,” he said.

He wondered what kind of protest was this where people trespass sensitive buildings and damage properties. “If someone/suspect trespass in prohibited areas, then you do not need a constitutional amendment, not any new law to form of a military court. There are standing courts present there.”

He clarified that those who did not enter sensitive areas did not torch buildings, and were outside would not be tried in military courts.

Both the Official Secrets Act and the Military Act are applicable to any location associated with defence. “Jinnah House, being the residence and camp office of the Corps Commander, contained highly sensitive items. If any of these items were to be taken and utilized by a neighboring country, would it be considered a political protest?” he wondered.

Referring to unfortunate incidents that unfolded on May 9, Rana said, “He [Imran Khan] even blamed himself and his own party for that”.

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Rana Sanaullah

interior ministry

Politics May 26 2023