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A Lahore anti-terrorism court (ATC) has denied the bail request of Dr. Yasmin Rashid, who serves as the Punjab president for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party. The case revolves around allegations of vandalism at the Shadman police station during the violent riots that erupted on May 9. These riots, sparked by the arrest of Imran Khan in the Al-Qadir Trust case, had triggered widespread violence and even led to attacks on key military installations. This chain of events prompted the state to launch a severe crackdown against the PTI, which is Imran Khan’s political party.
While Imran Khan himself was released a few days later, it’s worth noting that he had been rearrested in subsequent cases, such as the Toshakhana and cipher case. Meanwhile, scores of PTI workers and a significant portion of the party’s top-tier leadership were apprehended, with many still navigating the complex legal proceedings associated with serious charges.
In a further twist to the case, the police introduced new offenses under various sections of the Pakistan Penal Code in August, including 121 (waging or attempting to wage a war or abetting in waging of war against Pakistan), 131 (abetting mutiny, or attempting to seduce a soldier, sailor, or airman from his duty), and 146 (rioting). These additions were made to the First Information Reports (FIRs) that were initially filed.
The FIRs encompassed a wide range of incidents, including attacks on the Corps Commander House, Askari Tower, the Shadman police station, and the torching of PML-N party offices in Model Town on May 9.
Joint investigation teams were assembled to scrutinize the violence that unfolded on May 9, and they identified over 900 activists, including the former prime minister and prominent PTI figures like Yasmin Rashid, as primary suspects in numerous cases. The teams subsequently submitted charge sheets to the ATC.
Last month, Yasmin Rashid was placed on a five-day physical remand in connection to her alleged incendiary speeches on May 9 against state institutions at Lahore’s Sherpao Bridge, as well as her involvement in the riots that occurred following Imran Khan’s arrest. On September 14, a Lahore ATC ordered her to be detained for 14 days in judicial remand for the same case.
More recently, a Lahore ATC adjourned the hearing of petitions filed by Yasmin Rashid and former provincial minister Mian Mahmoodur Rasheed, both of whom were seeking post-arrest bail in multiple cases related to the May 9 riots.
In a recent development, Kot Lakhpat jail authorities brought Yasmin Rashid and Senator Ijaz Chaudhry to a Lahore ATC for the Askari Tower attack case.
Today, during the proceedings, ATC Judge Arshad Javed presided over the hearing of Yasmin Rashid’s bail plea regarding the vandalism at the Shadman police station. The state prosecutor informed the court that Yasmin Rashid was already on physical remand in connection with the Shadman attack case and highlighted the addition of new offenses.
Consequently, the ATC decided to dismiss Yasmin Rashid’s bail plea, citing its ineffectiveness.
In this pivotal decision by the Lahore ATC, the legal proceedings surrounding the May 9 riots continue to unfold, further underlining the significance and complexity of the case. As it progresses, the public will undoubtedly be closely watching the developments and outcomes of this high-profile matter.