Imran Khan Case: Lahore HC directs release of more than 120 supporters of Imran, arrested after former PM’s arrest

Imran Khan Case: A Pakistani court has ordered the release of more than 120 supporters of former PM Imran Khan on Saturday (May 20). All of them were taken into custody in Punjab province on May 9 after violent protests erupted in the country following the arrest of the former prime minister. The Lahore High Court (LHC) has directed the Pakistan government to immediately release 123 workers of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party.     

According to Pakistani media, Lahore High Court Justice Anwarul Haq gave this order while hearing the petition of PTI leader Farooq Habib, who wanted the detained party worker to be released. All these activists were arrested from Faisalabad and are currently lodged in various jails of Punjab. 

Jinnah House also set on fire
The arrest of Khan on May 9 by the paramilitary Pakistan Rangers in a corruption case at the Islamabad High Court (IHC) complex sparked unrest in Pakistan. . For the first time in Pakistan’s history, protesters stormed the Army Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi and also set fire to the Corps Commander’s House (Jinnah House) in Lahore.

Police put the death toll in the violent clashes at 10, while Khan’s party claimed 40 of its workers were killed in firing by security personnel. Top military officials resolved to bring those behind the attack and arson on civilian and military installations to justice through trial under the relevant laws of the country, including the Pakistan Army Act and the Official Secrets Act. 

Human rights should be maintained
Law enforcement agency has arrested more than 7000 PTI workers from all over Pakistan, out of which around 4000 are from Punjab province only. Punjab’s Caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi told that the police is looking for more than 500 women in about 138 cases registered in the violence on May 9. Naqvi said in a statement that the male officer has been instructed not to arrest any woman.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged the government to uphold human rights while prosecuting more than 4,000 people arrested in the wake of the violent protests. In a statement on Saturday, HRW Associate Asia Director Patricia Grossman said, "Pakistani authorities must stop arbitrary arrests of political opposition activists and peaceful protesters." After losing a vote of no confidence in his leadership, Imran Khan was ousted from power in April last year. 

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