Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf party issued a statement accusing the intelligence agencies of setting fires and causing chaos and vandalism during the confrontations that followed the arrest of its leader, Imran Khan, with the aim of blaming its supporters and justifying the current crackdown.
Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf party, led by former Prime Minister Imran Khan, has accused the intelligence agencies of being responsible for the shooting and arson attacks during the violent confrontations that followed Khan’s arrest last week.
Khan, who is prosecuted in dozens of judicial files, and who has been waging a campaign of accusations against the powerful Pakistani army since his removal from power, was released on bail on Friday after the Supreme Court considered his arrest illegal.
The arrest of Khan, a former cricket star who later became involved in politics and enjoys great popularity, sparked violent confrontations in several Pakistani cities between his supporters and the security forces. Several official departments were set on fire, roads were cut off, and army facilities were damaged. At least nine people were killed during these confrontations, according to hospitals and the police.
And Tuesday, the party confirmed in a statement: “We have an ample amount of evidence to present in any investigation that arson and in some places shootings were carried out by men from (intelligence) agencies who wished to cause chaos and blame the PTI in order to justify the current crackdown.”
The statement confirmed that “the PJS believes that identifying the elements involved in the unusual incident of violence and chaos is inevitable in a credible investigation,” but the party did not provide any evidence of these accusations.
Since the beginning of the events, more than seven thousand people have been arrested and at least 19 officials of the Justice Movement have been arrested, some of them in night raids on their homes after being accused of incitement to violence.
The statement of the PTI came a day after senior leaders pledged to prosecute those involved in sabotaging military facilities in military courts. Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif confirmed that he would open more anti-terrorism courts to try people accused of anti-state behavior during the protests.
Khan is the target of dozens of cases, which he considers an attempt by the government and the army to prevent him from returning to power, and human rights advocates say that Pakistani courts often resort to lengthy procedures with the aim of stifling political opposition.