Pakistan to try ex-PM’s supporters under military laws


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.

Top Pakistani political and military leaders “vowed no leniency towards those involved in the attacks on security installations,’’ said a statement by the prime minister’s office.

“There will be zero tolerance against violence and miscreancy,” said the statement released late Tuesday after a meeting of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s National Security Committee.
The committee comprised both the army and intelligence chiefs, and was empowered to take decisions on security and terrorism issues.
More than 4,000 of Khan’s supporters were arrested after they stormed the army headquarters, burnt down the residence of a commander, and set alight public and private vehicles, according to police.

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Khan, who was removed last year by the parliament through a no-confidence vote, was arrested by the anti-graft body on corruption charges last week, but a court ordered his release after two days.

Secret trials under the controversial army laws mean little transparency and a long, complicated process of appeals in the civilian courts, said Rizwan Khan, a lawyer based in Islamabad.


The decision to try civilians under the army laws was opposed by some politicians from the government parties and the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP).
“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. (dpa/NAN)