Team set up to probe ‘attack’ on house of top Lahore general

LAHORE: Following the vandalism on the official residence of the Lahore Corps’ commander on May 9, the interim government of Punjab constituted a joint investigation team (JIT) to conduct a probe into street protests against the brief arrest of former prime minister Imran Khan freighted with anger at the army.

The military has labelled the violence “anti-state”, justifying huge roundups and the revival of notorious army courts to try civilians who are suspected of targeting government and military buildings.

The home department issued a notification announcing the formation of the team, which will be headed by the Iqbal Town Superintendent of Police (SP), who will also act as its convener.

In addition to the convener, the probe team will consist of four other members from the provincial police, as announced by the communiqué.

Khan, Pakistan’s most popular politician, has been tangled in dozens of legal cases he believes are fabricated to quash his Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) party and bar him from contesting elections due this autumn.

In the days following the protests, more than a dozen of his senior leadership were repeatedly arrested and released on allegations of instigating the violence.

In press conferences after being freed, some of his closest aides condemned the violence and announced they were parting ways with Khan.

Among those arrested for their involvement in the protests in front of the corps commander’s house is Rizwan Zia, son of former head of Sindh and Punjab police retired Maj. Zia ul-Hasan. He was arrested on charges of participating in the protest outside the building on May 9 and engaging in acts of vandalism.

According to the police, Zia’s location was determined through geo-fencing, leading to his arrest. Authorities have disclosed that he is the son-in-law of a former army officer, and efforts are underway to arrest other accomplices involved in the incident.

In accordance with the decision of the National Security Committee (NSC), the anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Lahore has granted permission to hand over 16 suspects connected to the protest for prosecution under the Army Act.

The formation of the panel aims to thoroughly investigate the arson attack and bring those responsible to justice, ensuring that such acts of violence and vandalism are not repeated in the future, the government has claimed.

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