The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has officially identified Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan and the party’s central, provincial, and local leadership as the masterminds behind the May 9 riots. The JIT’s findings, revealed on Thursday, state that they found conclusive evidence linking Imran Khan and top PTI officials to the orchestrated incidents, including the attack on Jinnah House.
The JIT, established to investigate the events of May 9 under the supervision of DIG Investigation Imran Kishwar, submitted its report to an anti-terrorism court. The report states that Imran Khan, in collaboration with PTI leadership at all levels, conspired to incite the public through false narratives, with the intention of pushing Pakistan towards a civil war.
The report highlighted how PTI leaders utilized their public influence for their own gain, aiming to compel high-ranking military officers, federal, and provincial governments to resign. The JIT detailed how a fabricated story, often referred to as a ‘cipher story,’ was spread by Imran Khan to incite public anger against the then Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, alleging undue political influence by the armed forces.
Furthermore, the public was misled with claims that Imran Khan faced a threat to his life, akin to the late Salmaan Taseer, former Punjab governor. The top PTI leadership systematically advanced this mission, encouraging lower-ranked officers within the armed forces to disobey their superiors and threatening police officers who attempted to maintain law and order.
The media, social media platforms, and other communication channels were extensively employed to propagate these narratives. False images were presented under the guise of freedom and jihad, inciting people to attack state institutions while feigning protests. The JIT concluded, “There are substantial pieces of evidence that establish PTI chief Imran Khan and his top leadership’s guilt in inciting people against the armed forces, thereby jeopardizing national security.”
The wave of protests began when Imran Khan was arrested on May 9, 2023, in connection with the Al-Qadir Trust case. These protests continued unabated for three consecutive days. PTI supporters, directed by the party’s leadership, launched assaults on various sensitive locations, including Jinnah House, GHQ building, Core Headquarters, ISI offices, airbases, monuments, and residences of armed forces officers. Public properties were set ablaze, and several other sensitive places came under attack.
The JIT’s investigations revealed that the top PTI leadership was in communication with the protesters either through telephone calls or messages. Social media messages and video clips played a pivotal role in directing protesters towards these sensitive sites.
Moreover, geofencing data for prominent PTI leaders, including Dr. Yasmin Rashid, Hammad Azhar, Mehmoodur Rasheed, Ijaz Chaudhry, Mian Alsam Iqbal, and Murad Ras, indicated their active engagement with the protesters. They were tracked before, during, and after the attacks on sensitive locations.
As a result of its investigation, the JIT has submitted charges in 11 out of 14 cases. Accused individuals, including Umar Sarfraz Cheema, Mian Rasheed, Yasmin, and media activists Khadija Shah, Sanam Javed, Tayaba Raja, Alia Hamza, among others, have been declared guilty. Separate FIRs have been filed against them on various charges, including incitement of violence, causing chaos, attacking Jinnah House, and setting fire to public properties in response to Imran Khan’s arrest.