Saturday 24, September 2022

‘Azadi March’ violence: Islamabad court confirms pre-arrest bail for Imran in 10 cases

News Desk: An Islamabad district and sessions court on Saturday confirmed the pre-arrest bails of PTI chairman Imran Khan in 10 cases pertaining to alleged violence and damage to public property during the party’s “Azadi March” on May 25.

The ex-premier appeared in the court of Judge Kamran Basharat Mufti alongside his counsel Babar Awan and PTI leader Shahbaz Gill.

Imran had applied for pre-arrest bail in 15 FIRs registered against him at 11 police stations of the federal capital.

During the hearing today, Awan said that his client had been booked in 15 cases of the “same nature” and requested that he be granted bail.

At this, the judge asked the prosecutor if he had any objections.

The court, subsequently, confirmed Imran’s pre-arrest bails in 10 cases and instructed him to submit surety bonds of Rs5,000.

In another case, registered under sections of treason at the Kohsar police station, the court granted the PTI chief interim bail. The judge has summoned the record of the case at the next hearing, scheduled on September 8.

Cases against Imran

On May 26, a first information report (FIR) was registered at 1:50am at the Kohsar police station at the complaint of Sub-Inspector (SI) Asif Raza under Sections 109 (abetment), 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly), 186 (obstructing public service), 188 (disobedience), 353 (assault on public servant), 427 (causing damage) and 435 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to cause damage) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

SI Raza, in the FIR, said he was on duty, along with other police personnel, at Jinnah Avenue’s China Chowk when at 11pm, 100-150 people with PTI flags suddenly moved towards Express Chowk. He said the police tried to stop the PTI supporters due to the imposition of Section 144 in Islamabad but they did not listen and instead allegedly pelted stones at the police officers and also set fire to trees.

Raza said 36 individuals, who were acting at the “behest of Imran and other PTI leadership”, were “brought under control”.

Meanwhile, the second FIR was registered at 3:20am on the complaint of SI Ghulam Sarwar under the same sections as the prior FIR. Sarwar claimed that he and other police officers were on duty at Express Chowk when at 12:30am, 100-150 PTI protesters allegedly equipped with rods and flammable materials “chanted slogans, incited people and set fire to the trees and Metro Bus station” near Geo Chowk, along with smashing the windows of Geo News’ office.

SI Sarwar alleged that as the police tried to disperse the crowd, the PTI workers resorted to pelting stones and also damaged a government bus. He added that 39 individuals were subsequently arrested.

Meanwhile, on May 28, a Dawn report revealed that 11 more cases were registered against the PTI leadership, including Imran, and other PTI activists under different sections of the PPC by the Loi Bher, Secretariat police, Aabapra police, Golra police, Bhara Kahu police, Tarnol police, and Koral police among others.

The march

Imran Khan’s march for “haqeeqi azadi” true freedom was preceded by the authorities invoking of Section 144, a measure used to curb gatherings. Shipping containers were put in place on major thoroughfares to block their path.

Undeterred by the moves, the marchers, who tried to force through the containers to make their way to Islamabad, were met with tear gas as police tried to disperse them. Police also charged at them with batons.

Television footage showed smoke rising from the ground and fires in the green belts adjacent to Islamabad’s main roads. The government claimed that the PTI supporters had set the fires whereas the claim from the PTI camp was that the fires were a result of police shelling. Neither claim could be independently verified.

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