Former prime minister Imran Khan, his wife Bushra Bibi and more than 600 leaders and former assembly members of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party have been barred from leaving the country, media reports said on Thursday.
Khan and several top leaders of his party are facing cases following the violence after he was arrested on May 9 in a corruption case.
Citing sources within the Federal Investigation Authority (FIA), the Geo News reported that the names of the PTI leaders and its party chief have been added for their involvement in the May 9 violence and desecration of martyrs’ monuments.
However, there was no official confirmation on the development from Khan’s party.
The names have been added to the FIA’s Provincial National Identification List (PNIL) to prevent them from going abroad, the sources said.
The sources claimed that some of the PTI leaders and office bearers tried leaving the country in the last three days, however, they were stopped at the airports.
The list includes Murad Saeed, Maleeka Bokhari, Fawad Chaudhry, Hammad Azhar, Qasim Suri, Asad Qaiser, Yasmin Rashid and Mian Aslam Iqbal.
Fawad Chaudhry has already quit the party but his name has been listed among those who cannot fly out of Pakistan.
Earlier, Samaa News channel reported that the federal government has decided to add the names of 80 people, including Khan and his wife, to the no-fly list.
The names of all the PTI leaders were put in the list on the recommendation of the institutions concerned , the news channel reported.
It said that the police department, National Accountability Bureau and the anti-corruption department had requested the Ministry of Interior to include these names to the no-fly list.
The no-fly list is maintained by the Ministry of Interior and officials deployed at airports or other land exit routes are provided the names of individuals who cannot go out.
Pakistan authorities maintain different categories of people who are banned from leaving the country for various reasons, including those who face corruption cases.
But these lists had been used in the past by the governments to muzzle the opposition.
When Khan was the prime minister, names of several high-profile personalities, including PML-N leader and current prime minister Shehbaz Sharif, were put on the no-fly list.
16 activists of Imran Khan’s party handed over to army for trial under military laws
In a first, 16 activists of Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, including a former lawmaker, were handed over to the military authorities on Thursday for their trial under the stringent Army Act and the Official Secrets Act for allegedly torching the Lahore Corps Commander’s House, also known as Jinnah House.
On May 9, violent protests erupted after paramilitary Rangers arrested Khan from the Islamabad high court premises.
His party workers vandalised a dozen military installations, including the Lahore Corps Commander’s House, the Mianwali airbase and the Inter-Services Intelligence building in Faisalabad in response to Khan’s arrest.
The mob also stormed the Army headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi for the first time.
Since the widespread violence, the government has cracked down on Khan’s supporters, arresting thousands of people and threatening trials before military courts.
“On the orders of the anti-terrorism court, the camp jail Lahore superintendent on Thursday handed over 16 prime suspects including former lawmaker Mian Akram Usman of attack on the Corps Commander Lahore House known as Jinnah House to a military commanding officer,” a Punjab government official told PTI.
He said over 2,000 people, mostly workers of Khan’s party, have been arrested in connection with the attack on the Corps Commander’s house, however, the role of these 16 have been established for vandalizing and torching the residence.
Khan has claimed that 10,000 workers of his party have been arrested across the country for allegedly attacking military installations and state buildings on May 9.
The military said only those involved in attacking the military installations will be tried under the Pakistan Army Act and the Official Secrets Act.
“The commanding officer informed the ATC that the 16 suspects in question by committing the offences have become the subject to the Pakistan Army Act 1952 and exclusively liable to be investigated and tried by the military authorities in court martial,” the official said.
The Amnesty International has strongly opposed the decision of trying civilians in military courts.
In a statement, the rights body said it has documented a catalogue of human rights violations stemming from trying civilians in military courts in Pakistan, including flagrant disregard for due process, a lack of transparency and coerced confessions.
It has called upon authorities to immediately reverse the handing over of civilians to the military for a trial and stressed that civilians should only be prosecuted in a civilian court using ordinary criminal laws commensurate with the offence.
Khan has also strongly condemned court martial of civilians and termed it illegal and against the constitution.
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