Pakistan Issues Arrest Warrants for Imran Khan Party Leaders

Violent demonstrations erupted subsequent to the apprehension of the former Prime Minister and leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party by paramilitary Rangers within the confines of the Islamabad High Court.

In connection with the turmoil that ensued on May 9 of the preceding year, an anti-terrorism court in Pakistan issued arrest warrants without the option of bail against Ali Amin Gandapur, the Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and several others associated with the incarcerated ex-premier Imran Khan's political faction.

The Rawalpindi-based anti-terrorism court, under the jurisdiction of Judge Malik Ejaz Asif, initiated legal proceedings against Gandapur, summoning him and his companions to appear before the court on April 2, based on charges stemming from incidents on May 9.

The unrest was triggered by the detention of Khan, the former Prime Minister and head of the PTI party, by paramilitary Rangers at the Islamabad High Court on allegations of corruption. Subsequently, supporters of his party engaged in acts of vandalism, targeting numerous military installations, including the Jinnah House, Mianwali airbase, and the ISI building in Faisalabad. Notably, the mob also targeted the Army headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi.

In the aftermath of the tumult, law enforcement authorities apprehended hundreds of PTI activists and high-ranking officials, who were subsequently incarcerated for their involvement in the violent upheaval and assaults on military compounds. The government designated May 9 as a "Black Day" and opted to prosecute the demonstrators under the rigorous provisions of the Army Act.

Among the PTI figures issued arrest warrants were Murad Saeed, Shibli Faraz, Shahbaz Gill, retired Lt Col. Shabbir Awan, Shireen Mazari, Musarrat Jamshed Cheema, and Saad Jamil Abbasi. The potential arrest of Gandapur presents a precarious scenario, given the likelihood of staunch resistance from his supporters in the volatile Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Mohammed Ali Saif, an adviser to Gandapur, criticized the federal government, attributing the legal actions to an administration that ascended to power following allegedly manipulated elections on February 8.

Read also: Pakistan Airlines Fined After Hostess Flies to Canada without passport

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