An anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Lahore has given the go-ahead to hand over 16 suspects to the military in order to prosecute them under the Army Act. These suspects are believed to have been involved in the attacking and ransacking of Jinnah House in May. This decision was made in accordance with the National Security Committee’s (NSC) recommendation.
On May 9, supporters of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party resorted to violence and attacked government and military installations on the back of the arrest of Imran Khan, party chairman. In response, the government turned to the military for assistance to help contain the situation. Thereafter, it was announced that protesters would be tried under army laws, which lead to the arrest of numerous PTI workers and leaders across the country.
The army officer responsible for prosecuting the suspects filed a request with the ATC for their custody. In a recent order, Judge Abher Gul Khan granted the request, leading to the confinement of the alleged culprits in Camp Jail, Lahore, before they are handed over to the military for further legal proceedings.
The accused have been named in two separate cases related to the attack that occurred on Corps Commander House, also known as Jinnah House. The suspects include individuals like Muhammad Hashir Khan, Waqas Ali, Ali Raza and others.
The order states that the suspects are guilty under Sections 3,7 and 9 of the Official Secrets Act, 1923, read with Section 2(1)(d) and 59(4) of Pakistan Army Act, 1952, and as such, they are exclusively triable by a military court. The Deputy Prosecutor General (DPG) did not raise any objections to the decision made to try the accused in a military court, and ordered that the request be forwarded for appropriate orders.