Pakistan to try Imran Khan’s supporters under army laws

Imran Khan new

Former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan

Thousands of supporters of Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan would be tried under the country’s army laws for the deadly riots that followed his arrest last week.

This is contained in a statement from Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s office late Tuesday after a meeting with his National Security Committee.

Top Pakistani political and military leaders “vowed no leniency towards those involved in the attacks on security installations. There will be zero tolerance against violence and miscreancy”.

The committee, which included army and intelligence officers, was given the authority to make security and terrorism decisions.

According to authorities, around 4,000 Khan supporters were arrested after storming the army headquarters, torching a commander’s home, and setting fire to public and private vehicles.

Khan, who was ousted by the parliament in a no-confidence vote last year, was arrested last week on corruption accusations by the anti-graft organisation, but a court ordered his release after two days.

According to Rizwan Khan, an Islamabad-based lawyer, secret trials under contentious army regulations imply limited transparency and a long, convoluted appeals procedure in civilian courts.

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Some government politicians and the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) challenged the proposal to trial civilians under army rules.

“HRCP strongly opposes the use of the Pakistan Army Act 1952 and Official Secrets Act 1923 to try civilians,” the country’s top rights group said on social media.

Khan himself supported trials of civilians under army laws as prime minister between 2018 and 2022.

Khan came to power after a disputed election on the back of the support of the powerful military.

He fell out of favour with the army months before his unceremonious ouster in a no-confidence motion over the choice of a new intelligence chief.

Khan and his supporters accuse the military of now thwarting his ambition for another term in office.


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