International

Pakistan: Imran Khan Charged Under 'Criminal Conspiracy' For 'Masterminding' May 9 Violence

Khan has been in Attock Jail in Punjab province since August 5, 2023. He was arrested in the Toshakhana (gifts) case and subsequently handed down a three-year imprisonment. He was later granted bail in the case after the higher court suspended the verdict. However, he was re-arrested in the cipher case under the Official Secrets Act.

Former Pakistan PM Imran Khan
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In a latest development, Pakistan's jailed former prime minister Pakistan Imran Khan has been charged with criminal conspiracy, which carries a maximum sentence of the death penalty, for masterminding the massive attack on army installations and inciting the people to mutiny, a senior Punjab Police official said on Wednesday.

About the May 9 violence

On May 9, Pakistan witnessed massive nationwide anti-government protests following the arrest of former PM Imran Khan by paramilitary Rangers in the Toshakhana Case.

Dozens of military installations and government buildings, including the military headquarters in Rawalpindi, were damaged or torched during the riots. Over 100 vehicles of police and other security agencies were set on fire.

Khan and hundreds of PTI leaders and workers are accused of attacking Lahore Corps Commander House and Askari Tower in the city on May 9.

What did police say?

According to Lahore police's senior investigation officer Anoosh Masood said Khan and other PTI leaders and workers have been charged with "criminal conspiracy" for inciting supporters to attack military and state installations on May 9.

Police carried out a thorough investigation into the May 9 events in Lahore and found the PTI chief "masterminding" the attacks on military installations and inciting people to violence, she said.

“Besides section 120-B, Khan and others will face nine others offences regarding giving provocation with intent to cause riot, abetting mutiny and attempting to wage a war against Pakistan. A challan of the case has been prepared by the police investigators and prosecutors and will be submitted to the Anti-Terrorism Court Lahore,” Masood said.

Toshakhana Case & Cypher Case

Former Pakistan PM Imran Khan has been accused of keeping the department in dark about certain gifts and for irregularities in the sale of certain gifts in deposited in Toshakhana. 

The Toshakhana is known to be a federal government department which is bestowed with the responsibility of all the valuables received by the officials and elected leaders while in office. 

The Toshakhana case says that Khan “deliberately concealed” details of the gifts he retained from the Toshakhana, a repository where presents handed to government officials from foreign officials are kept, during his time as the prime minister and proceeds from their reported sales.

Khan is accused of misusing his 2018 to 2022 premiership to buy and sell gifts in state possession that were received during visits abroad and worth more than Rs 140 million (USD 635,000).

The cipher case is based on the alleged leaking of a cable sent by the Pakistan embassy in Washington in March last year.

In March last year, ahead of the vote of no-confidence that resulted in his ouster, Khan pulled out a piece of paper - allegedly the cypher - from his pocket and waved it at a public rally in Islamabad, claiming it was the evidence of an "international conspiracy" being hatched to topple his government.

However, during the interrogation with the joint investigation team (JIT) in the jail on August 26, Khan denied that the paper he waved at a public gathering last year was the cypher. He also admitted to losing the cypher, saying he couldn't recall where he kept it.

 Khan and former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi have been attending hearings in the case, while PTI leader Asad Umar’s and former principal secretary Azam Khan’s involvement are supposed to be determined during the course of the investigation.

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