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Imran Khan's party to be banned? 'Review surely underway': Defence minister

Talking to the media, Asif said that Khan was still reluctant to condemn the attacks by his supporters on military and civilian installations

Photo: Wikipedia

Photo: Wikipedia

Press Trust of India

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Sajjad Hussain

Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khawaja Asif on Wednesday said the government is mulling a possible ban on Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party following the attacks by his supporters on military installations after Khan’s arrest. On May 9, violent protests erupted after the arrest of Khan by paramilitary Rangers. His party workers vandalised a dozen military installations, including the Lahore Corps Commander house, Mianwali airbase, and the ISI building in Faisalabad. The Army headquarters in Rawalpindi was also attacked.
Talking to the media, Asif said that Khan was still reluctant to condemn the attacks by his supporters on military and civilian installations.
“A decision (to ban PTI) has not been taken yet, but a review is surely underway,” he told reporters.
He, however, said that the matter will be referred to the Parliament for approval if the government finally decides to ban the former ruling party.
The minister said that the former premier considered the army as his adversary. “His (Khan’s) entire politics was done in the lap of the army and today he has suddenly decided to stand against it,” Asif said.
The minister said that Khan’s own leaders who had quit the party were saying the same thing. “Whatever I am saying is being said by all the people leaving PTI,” he said. “They have said that everything happened with planning. In fact, they were facilitated.” He also criticised Khan for not condemning the attacks. “Is there any crime that was not committed on May 9?” he claimed.
However, PTI leader Barrister Ali Zafar said that the party would challenge the ban in the court as a political party cannot be banned. He told the media that when a ban was imposed on the Jamaat-i-Islami in the 1960s, it was set aside by then-chief justice Alvin Robert Cornelius.
Ex-army chief’s granddaughter held for leading attack on military building 
The granddaughter of Pakistan’s former Army Chief Asif Nawaz Jangua was arrested as a “key instigator” in the attack on the Corps Commander House following Imran Khan’s arrest on May 9, police said on Wednesday.
Khadija Shah, a fashion designer by profession, is among the several women arrested for their alleged involvement in attacks on military installations on May 9 that erupted in the wake of the PTI party chief’s arrest. 
Lahore police said that Shah, the daughter of former finance minister Salman Shah, was one of the key instigators of the May 9 attack on the Lahore Corps Commander House, also known as Jinnah House. 
She has been arrested under terrorism charges and might be tried under the Army Act, police said. 
Shah, an active PTI supporter, had gone into hiding since police started carrying out raids for her arrest.

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First Published: May 24 2023 | 11:43 PM IST

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