According to Pakistan's interior minister, Imran Khan will face charges in a military court.
Islamabad: According to Pakistan's Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, Imran Khan will be tried in a military court because the former leader was the "architect" of the May 9 incidents in which his party members attacked military and government buildings after he was arrested in a corruption case.
Sanaullah claimed during an appearance on a Dawn TV programme that the 70-year-old leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party had personally planned the attacks on military facilities prior to his arrest that day.
The minister further emphasised that the claim was supported by proof.
Khan responded, "Sure, why shouldn't it," when asked if the military court would hear his case. My understanding is that the plot he created to target military locations and then had it carried out is unquestionably a case for a military court.
The minister charged Khan with personally planning the violence on May 9.
"Imran Khan is our red line," his followers sang. Planning and preparation were carried out at Imran Khan's initiative and prompting. He completed everything. He is the mastermind behind all of this strife, he claimed.
He continued, "(The proof) is documented; it is in his tweets and mails.
The minister responded when asked how Khan managed to stay in touch with his party officials while serving time in prison: "All this (planning) was arranged before he left (to jail), who will do what and where. What would the plan and responsibilities be if he were to be arrested? Everything was decided.
The minister's comments come a day after Khawaja Asif, the defence minister, stated that no decision had been made about Khan's trial under the strict Army Act. Yet he said that he was unable to "rule out" such a scenario.
Asif stated, "I don't rule out the chance that he was the organiser and knew everything (about May 9)".
Khan claims he was in the jail when the mayhem occurred and has denied any involvement in the violence. He knows that the government wants to imprison him for 10 years on a sedition charge.
After Khan was taken into custody by the armed Rangers in Islamabad on May 9, there were tense demonstrations. Around 20 military installations and government buildings, including the Lahore Corps Commander House, the Mianwali airbase, and the ISI building in Faisalabad, were vandalised by his party members. For the first time, the mob also attacked the General Headquarters of the Army (GHQ) in Rawalpindi. Khan later received bail and was freed.
The government and military reacted strongly to the violence and promised to punish those responsible. As a result, there has been a continuing crackdown on individuals responsible.
Almost 10,000 members of Khan's Pakistan party have been detained by law enforcement, 4,000 of whom are from Punjab.
Ten people were killed in the violent battles, according to the police, while 40 members of Khan's party allegedly died when security officers opened fire on them.
The Lahore Corps Commander's home and other buildings were allegedly stormed by Khan and his close associates in coordination with prior allegations made by the Punjab Police, which they based on a geo-fencing report.
When contacted by Dawn, Punjab Inspector General of Police Dr. Usman Anwar confirmed the geo-fencing data and the claim that Khan's apartment in Lahore was used to plot the attack on the Jinnah House.
It was discovered that 154 calls were allegedly made by Khan to party leaders and rioters in order to incite them to assault, according to a senior officer who spoke to the publication on the condition of anonymity. He had stated that the "primary suspect" in the alleged plot to target the corps commander's home was the PTI chairman.
Call logs, according to the officer, show that on May 8 and May 9, the day of Khan's arrest, all calls were placed to get workers ready to attack the building.
Sanaullah reported on Friday that 33 individuals had been turned over to the military, 19 in Punjab and 14 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
An anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi ordered the Adiala Prison superintendent to turn over eight individuals to the military for prosecution on Monday.