The Pakistan government is mulling to launch a sedition case against former prime minister Imran Khan and the chief ministers of Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for allegedly planning an "attack" on the federation during a protest here last month.
A meeting of the special committee of the Cabinet held under the chairmanship of Interior Minister Rana Sana Ullah Khan on Thursday deliberated on the issue of bringing sedition charges against Khan and others following their "Azadi March" that left a trail of destruction in the capital Islamabad.
The May 25 march aimed at forcing the government to call snap polls, but failed to achieve its objective as clashes erupted between protestors and police.
The government has been mulling options for appropriate action against Khan and others for vandalising the property of the State.
The committee was briefed about the PTI’s long march and its formal plan to attack the federation, according to a report by the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan (APP).
“The cabinet committee deliberated to file a sedition case under Section 124A of the Criminal Procedure Code against (PTI Chairman Imran Khan Niazi and Chief Ministers of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Mehmood Khan, and Gilgit-Baltistan Khalid Khursheed," said the report.
The committee also reviewed the evidence regarding the PTI long march participants, especially party chief Imran Khan and the two chief ministers.
The meeting was later adjourned till Monday (June 6) for further consultations to make final recommendations to the cabinet.
The interior minister urged the committee to recommend to the cabinet to register a sedition case against the cricketer-turned-politician in light of the evidence.
The minister said the march was an armed attack on the federation besides a mutiny.
He said formal planning was made to hold the capital hostage and Khan provoked his workers through his hate speeches against the federation.
Sanaullah said that the marchers were armed and under a plan, about 2,500 miscreants had already been brought to Islamabad even before May 25 and they tried to capture D-Chowk before the arrival of Khan.
He said the armed group not only attacked the police and paramilitary Pakistan Rangers and Frontier Corps personnel but also set fire to a metro station.
Earlier, Yousuf Naseem Khokhar and the police chief of Islamabad, Nasir Akbar, briefed the committee members regarding the law, order, and the long march.
The meeting was attended by Minister for Communications Asad Mahmood, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Kashmir Affairs Qamar Zaman Kaira, Minister for Economic Affairs Ayaz Sadiq, Minister for Law Azam Tarar, and other concerned officials.
The 69-year-old Khan during May 25 "Azadi March" wanted to make sure that his supporters could reach Islamabad unhindered for the rally which he had said would be used to force the government to call snap polls.
The government, which earlier banned the march, after Pakistan Supreme Court's intervention allowed Khan to enter the capital with thousands of his supporters, but he refused to hold the rally at the designated place and asked his supporters to converge on the D-Chowk, which is located close to several important government buildings: the Presidency, the Prime Minister's office, the Parliament, and the Supreme Court.
Khan's supporters violently protested and police had to resort to teargas and baton-charge to keep them under control.
Khan, who was ousted from power in April through a no-trust vote, has been claiming that the no-trust motion against him was the result of a “foreign conspiracy” because his independent foreign policy and funds were being channeled from abroad to oust him from power.
He has named the US as the country behind the conspiracy, a charge denied by Washington.
The PTI chairman has been protesting ever since and calling for fresh elections because, in his words, the incumbent coalition government led by Shehbaz Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party was “imported” and not a true representative of the Pakistani people.
Khan led his thousands of PTI supporters to Islamabad last Wednesday in a protest and had planned to stage a sit-in until new elections were announced but abruptly called off the sit-in at the last minute after making it to the capital.
However, he had threatened to return after six days if the government failed to give a date for snap polls in the country.