Jinnah House vandalism probe: Imran fails to appear before JIT

Jinnah House vandalism probe: Imran fails to appear before JIT

Lahore (Web Desk): Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman and former premier Imran Khan on Tuesday skipped his appearance before a joint investigation team (JIT) probing May 9 vandalism at the on Lahore Corps Commander House (Jinnah House) and requested that he be facilitated at is Zaman Park residence in Lahore.

Earlier today, the PTI chief had been asked to appear before the JIT led by Director General (DIG) Investigations Lahore Kamran Adil, at the Investigations Headquarters, Qila Gujjar Singh at 4pm.

The team had to record Imran Khan's statement in violence cases, pertaining to attacks on Jinnah House and Askari Tower on May 9.

The former premier had been called for questioning in a case registered with the Sarwar Road police station against the attack.

Imran Khan Khan had been nominated in the case for allegedly abetting the attackers who ransacked and set fire to the Jinnah House when he was in prison.

However, the former premier did not join the investigation proceedings and instead submitted his reply to the notice through his lawyers, Advocates Ali Ijaz Buttar and Naeem Haider Panjhuta.

In his reply, Imran Khan said he received the notice yesterday “with very limited time to respond and reply”.

The PTI chief further stated that he was facing “security threats”, which were already in the JIT’s knowledge, and that he was also due to appear before an anti-terrorism court (ATC) and the Lahore Court (LHC) today in connection with bail bonds.

Referring to an assassination attempt on him during a public gathering in Wazirabad last year, he reiterated that there were now “reports from credible sources of another attack during public appearances in joining investigation”.

Moreover, he said attending court on important hearing was also mandatory.

In his reply the former premier stated, “Taking into account the extreme threat, security concerns, huge cost implication to state and myself, I will appreciate if I am facilitated at Zaman Park residence on any date/time of your convenience”.

The reply also mentioned that a “similar exercise had been undertaken by JIT already and larger bench of the honourbale LHC had directed your kind office to facilitate the undersigned at his residence as there is no bar to either join through video link, questionnaire or in person”.

He said he was submitting this request through his counsels “to take necessary steps […] for me to join the investigation, take my version and complete the process of investigation”.

Imran Khan also highlighted that he was under the “illegal and invalid" arrest of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) authorities” on May 10.

Khan added that unprecedented huge number of cases were registered against him.

"I have always extended full cooperation to investigation agencies, as i am willing to do in this case," the PTI chief said.

Imran Khan suggested that he may be sent a questionnaire containing precise question or queries to join the probe and as an alternative option.

“I am available in person at Zaman Park or absolutely willing to join the investigation through the method of video conferencing”.

He concluded the request saying, “Unnecessary exposure, with your kind support, can be avoided. Other than court hearings, I have not left my residence due to the severity of security threats.”

It is pertinent to mention that the Punjab government had constituted over a dozen JITs to probe into the May 9 incidents following which several cases were registered against the PTI leaders and workers, including the PTI chief at Sarwar Road, Shadman, Gulberg and other police stations.

Violent protests erupted following the arrest of  the former premier by paramilitary Rangers arrested in the Al-Qadir Trust corruption case, later retitled as National Crime Agency £190 million scandal, on the orders of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), from the Islamabad High Court (IHC) premises.

The rioting was followed by a harsh crackdown against the former ruling party leaders and workers that still continues.

However, on May 11, the Supreme Court (SC) declared Imran Khan’s arrest “illegal” and ordered his release.

On May 12, the IHC stopped the authorities from arresting the PTI chairman in any case, including undisclosed ones, filed against him anywhere in the country till May 15.

The court also granted the PTI chief interim bail for two weeks in the National Crime Agency £190 million scandal.