Police have solid evidence against PTI miscreants: Punjab IGP

Dr Usman Anwar says May 9 targets were pre-determined n Police have records of phone calls made by miscreants

LAHORE    -   The law enforcement agencies had solid evidence that PTI leaders in­cluding Yasmin Rashid were in­volved in May 9 attacks and the tar­gets were pre-determined, said Inspector General of Punjab Police Dr Usman Anwar. IG Punjab, while holding a press conference here on Sunday, said, “The May 9 incidents were carried out at a specific time as planned, the targets for the attacks were pre-determined”.

Dr Usman said that Yasmin Rashid made 41 calls, 154 calls related to May 8 and 9 were the same, adding police had the records of the phone calls made by the miscreants. The IG Pun­jab affirmed that all the miscreants were arrested after identification. Dr Usman said that propaganda was dis­seminated on social media against the state institutions, evidence of arson and siege was being presented in the courts, the events of May 9 were car­ried out at a specific time according to pre-established plan.

The top cop of the province said that the attacks of May 9 were car­ried out according to planning which also had the same timing. The memo­rial outside the Faisalabad ISI office was demolished. According to the re­cord, 25 callers were present at the spot in the Faisalabad attack.

He said, “In Mianwali, our own peo­ple did what the enemy could not do.” He added that 165 people who were in contact with the top leader­ship of PTI had been identified. The IGP claimed that 120 identified mis­creants involved in Jinnah House ar­son attack were present in Zaman Park on May 8.

He said a committee had been formed to address the grievances of 708 arrested accused who claimed innocence. Meanwhile, the Punjab police decided on Sunday to ap­proach the high court against a La­hore anti-terrorism court’s order to discharge PTI leader Yasmin Rashid in a case pertaining to van­dalism at the Lahore Corps Com­mander’s residence — also called Jinnah House — on May 9.

The PTI chief’s arrest at the Is­lamabad High Court last month by the paramilitary Rangers in a cor­ruption case had sparked country­wide protests, during which sev­eral private and public properties, including military installations, were vandalised. Rashid, along with 17 other women PTI work­ers, was initially detained under the Maintenance of Public Order ordinance and was re-arrested merely hours after the LHC had or­dered her release on May 13.

She was also charged in three cases registered in Lahore per­taining to her alleged involvement in May 9 riots. However, due to her medical condition, police had de­cided at the time to keep her at Services Hospital in Lahore, where she was taken from Kot Lakhpat jail. Last week, an ATC had granted police three-day physical remand of Rashid for a photogrammetric test in the Jinnah House vandal­ism case and she has remained in police custody since.

A day earlier, a Lahore ATC had ordered Rashid’s release along with 23 other suspects and dis­charged her from the case. She was not released due to other cas­es pertaining to the May 9 pro­tests. However, in a statement is­sued on Sunday, the Punjab police said: “All conspirators, planners, and perpetrators of the May 9 inci­dent, including Dr Yasmin Rashid, would be brought to justice.”

It stated that the investigation into the Jinnah House attack case was being conducted on “scientific lines”. The statement was released in response to the PTI chief’s tweet regarding Rashid’s case.

“The court order is being chal­lenged as police were not given the opportunity to present foren­sic evidence in the case. The court (ATC) order will attain finality af­ter the order of the High Court,” it said. “Police reserves its right to investigate the case and to bring the truth before the public.

“Any premature assumption/in­ference at this stage is likely to be misleading,” the police statement added. Later, a report issued by the Punjab Forensic Science Agen­cy concluded that Rashid’s facial features matched with those of the suspect spotted at Jinnah House premises when it was vandalised on May 9. The report said police provided the agency three vid­eo files in a USB as evidence and still images “of one of the accused persons” from two of the videos matched with the reference imag­es and videos of Rashid.

The previous day, the Sarwar Road police had produced Dr Rashid and others before the La­hore ATC. The investigating officer had requested the court to grant a 14-day physical remand of Rashid to conduct her photogrammetry test, voice match, and recover her mobile phone(s).

Advocate Rana Mudassar Umar, on behalf of Rashid, opposed the remand and argued that the po­lice had no evidence against his client. He said Rashid was an el­derly woman with multiple health issues and her custody with the police might endanger her life.

Judge Abher Gul Khan had ob­served that the case record re­vealed that Rashid was not nom­inated in the FIR nor was she involved through supplementary statements.

The judge noted that the wom­an leader was summoned in the case based on the disclosure of a co-suspect, which had no eviden­tiary value in the eyes of the law.

The judge had ordered the po­lice to release Rashid forthwith if not required in any other case.

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