Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and several of his close aides allegedly pre-planned the May 9 riots, including attacks on the Lahore Corps Commanders’ house and various other military and state installations, the Punjab Police have claimed, citing a geo-fencing report.
According to local media, police have collated more than 400 calls between the PTI chief and other senior leaders of the party during which they allegedly planned and incited party workers to congregate at sensitive public buildings, including the Lahore Corps Commanders’ house and General Headquarters in Rawalpindi. The report claimed that the individuals leading the rioters were all in contact with the PTI’s top leadership, which was based in Khan’s residence at Zaman Park.
Information reported by the media suggests that phones at Zaman Park called 158 mobile phone on May 8 and May 9, when the ransacking of the Lahore Corp Commanders’ house was underway. It alleges that several senior PTI leaders, including Dr. Yasmin Rashid, Hammad Azhar and Mehmoodur Rasheed, were in contact with the May 9 rioters, while Ijaz Chaudhry, Mian Aslam Iqbal and Murad Raas had been in contact with other demonstrators.
On May 9, the report alleges, around 215 calls were to six key PTI leaders. Of these, it claims, 10 calls were made to rioters from Azhar’s phone; 41 calls were made to Rashid; while Rasheed made 75 calls to various individuals. Chaudhry, it claimed, had made 50 calls; Iqbal 16; and Raas had called rioters at the Corps Commanders’ house 23 times.
Rejecting the report, Azhar—who has been evading arrest for the past week—claimed on Twitter that he had not called any person in connection with the May 9 riots “either before or on that date.” He claimed that he had only issued a call for PTI supporters to reach Liberty Chowk on Twitter, as he was in Ghakkar when Khan was arrested. “Nor did Khan contact me on May 8 in this regard,” he added.
There is an ongoing crackdown against the PTI and its workers following the May 9 riots triggered by the arrest of Khan in the Al-Qadir Trust corruption case. Reacting to the attacks on military installations, the Army dubbed May 9 as a “black day” and announced—with the support of the government—that it would prosecute the culprits under all relevant laws, including the Pakistan Army Act and the Official Secrets Act. However, despite video evidence of the PTI’s rioting, the party has maintained that it had no role in the violence, with Khan alternately accusing “agencies men” or “PDM conspirators” for the unrest that broke out earlier this month.