ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party leaders on Sunday welcomed an Anti-Terrorism Court’s (ATC) decision to grant bail to nine PTI supporters, among them five women, in a case relating to the attack on a senior military officer’s residence months ago.
An ATC in Lahore granted post-arrest bail to former PTI MNA Rubina Jamil and eight others on Saturday who were arrested on charges of attacking the official residence of the Lahore Corps Commander on May 9.
Angry PTI supporters took to the streets following Khan’s brief arrest on May 9 on graft allegations, torching government buildings and attacking military installations in many parts of the country. Scores of people were arrested for attacking the senior military officer’s Lahore residence, among them former lawmakers Alia Hamza and Rubina Jamil, and prominent fashion designer Khadijah Shah.
Following the protests, police registered cases against the suspects under Section 121 (waging or attempting to wage war or abetting waging of war against Pakistan), Section 131 (abetting mutiny, or attempting to seduce a soldier, sailor or airman from his duty) and Section 146 (rioting) under the Pakistan Penal Code.
While the ATC granted bail to Jamil, social media activist Sanam Javed, Afshan Tariq, Shahbano, Ashima Shuja, Mubeen Qadri, Syed Faisal Akhtar, Ali Hassan, and Mohammad Qasim, the same was denied to 39 others including Hamza and Shah.
“A welcome first step,” PTI leader and former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa finance minister Taimur Khan Jhagra wrote on social media platform X.
“The 9 given bail must be released. It is the reputation of the state that suffers when justice is seen not to be served, as is the case here.”
Jhagra said that “not a shred” of evidence of arson or destruction of public property linking PTI’s supporters to the acts of May 9 has been found.
Former PTI MNA Ali Muhammad Khan agreed with Jhagra, saying that the women who were granted bail should be released too.
“No doubt our sisters have endured alot and now when given bail by ATC they must be released & allowed to re-join their families and kids,” he wrote on X.
While Khan insists he did not instigate supporters to attack law enforcers on May 9, Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar said on Sept. 3 that the protests were aimed at starting a mutiny or civil war in the country.
“I think its target as a nucleus was the serving army chief and the team around him. All of them,” Kakar had said during an interview with a private news channel.
While Khan’s party alleges it is being victimized, Kakar has said the law would take its course and PTI supporters would not be targeted unfairly by military courts.