- The court extends bail of Dr. Yasmin Rashid, Mian Aslam Iqbal, Zubair Niazi and others
- The court directs the PTI leaders to join investigation
Lahore: An Anti-Terrorism Court on Tuesday turned down the interim bail plea of PTI leader Farrukh Habib over non-prosecution in a case registered under charges of vandalism during party’s Azadi March towards Islamabad last year on May 25.
The judge passed the order after the PTI leader did not turn up before the court.
The court, however, extended the interim bail of other PTI leaders including Dr. Yasmin Rashid, Aslam Iqbal, Zubair Niazi and others till April 7, and directed them to join investigation.
During the proceedings, the investigation officer appeared before the court and submitted that the government constituted a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe the role of the PTI leaders in damaging the public properties.
At this, the judge ordered the PTI leaders to join the investigation.
PTI’s leader Asad Umar could not appear before the court and instead filed an application seeking one-day exemption from appearance before it. The court reserved the verdict on his plea.
On May 25, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party led a march to Islamabad with the aim of achieving “true freedom” and calling for new general elections. The march was in response to party leader Imran Khan’s removal as prime minister through a no-confidence vote in April.
However, before the march could take place, authorities invoked Section 144, a measure used to limit gatherings, and placed shipping containers on major roads to prevent the marchers from reaching Islamabad. Despite these obstacles, the marchers attempted to push through the barriers but were met with resistance from the police, who used tear gas and batons to disperse them.
The events of the march were captured on television, with footage showing smoke rising from the ground and fires on the green belts adjacent to the main roads in Islamabad. While the government claimed that PTI supporters had started the fires, the PTI camp argued that the fires were caused by police shelling. However, neither claim could be independently verified.
The following morning, Imran called off the march, but gave the government a six-day ultimatum to announce new elections, warning that he would return to the capital if the demand was not met. In the aftermath of the march, several PTI leaders, including Imran, were charged in multiple cases across the country on accusations of vandalism and violence during the May 25 event.