An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Friday granted pre-arrest bail to fourteen Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) leaders till June 17 in a case related to the party’s recent long march. Earlier the ATC in Lahore had issued non-bailable arrest warrants for the former ruling party’s leaders at the request of Shahdara police station under charges of damaging public property, torturing police officials, and creating chaos during the party’s long march to Islamabad on May 25.
Upon the issuing of warrants, former ministers Shafqat Mahmood, Hammad Azhar, Dr Yasmeen Rashid, Mian Aslam Iqbal, Jamshed Iqbal Cheema, Ijaz Chaudhary, Zubair Niazi, Nadeem Abbas Bara and others reached the court seeking bail. The arrest warrants were issued for former ministers Shafqat Mahmood, Hammad Azhar and Dr Yasmeen Rashid. Other non-bailable warrants were also been issued against PTI leaders Nadeem Bara, Mian Mahmood Al-Rasheed and Ejaz Chaudhry, amongst others.
The Gulberg police and Shahdra police had registered First Information Reports (FIR) against the alleged perpetrators under different sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) including 7-ATA related to punishment for terrorist activities and violence. The court issued the warrants at the request of the Shahdara police station.
On June 9, the Supreme Court was apprised by law enforcement agencies that a “crowd was organised to enter Red Zone under the PTI leadership who had reached Express Chowk with the intent to proceed further towards D-Chowk as per the directions of the party’s highest command”.
On June 1, the apex court sought reports from Intelligence Bureau (IB) as well as Islamabad IG police, interior secretary and others over the alleged involvement of PTI leaders in instigating party workers to reach Islamabad’s D-Chowk in violation of its May 25 order.