Former PM Imran Khan To Face 'Court Martial' As Close Aides Become Approvers

Former PM Imran Khan To Face 'Court Martial' As Close Aides Become Approvers
LAHORE: The country’s top brass, including the civil and military leadership, has decided that former premier Imran Khan will face a military trial, or court martial, for his alleged crimes which he is accused of committing over the past year, which culminated in the rioting, vandalism and arson that occurred on May 9, The Friday Times (TFT) has learnt.

A senior official who frequents the power corridors of Pakistan told TFT that the likely list of the crimes on the charge sheet against the former premier includes instigating the people to mutiny, provoking the public to vandalize military installations, desecrating the monuments erected in the memory of martyrs, propagating fake narratives against the institution of the army, and so on.

He maintained that Khan will be prosecuted for these charges under the Pakistan Army Act, 1952, and that the former prime minister will be tried by the military courts.

The senior official said that previously, the plan was to arrest Khan before May 30, but it has been "shelved for now".

Sources familiar with ongoing discussions in the corridors of power confirmed to TFT that law enforcement agencies have documentary evidence of Khan’s involvement in all of these crimes. Moreover, sources assert that a "strong case" is currently being made against the former premier, and that it was very unlikely that Khan could manage to secure an favourable verdict on these serious charges.

“If proven guilty, the crimes he has committed could lead to life imprisonment, or even the death sentence,” a senior official said.

‘Senior PTI leaders are ready to become approvers against Imran Khan’

Sources maintained that some key PTI leaders are likely to become 'approvers' or state's witnesses against Khan. The list of these erstwhile close aides to Khan includes his former media tsars Firdous Ashiq Awan and Fayyazul Hassan Chohan, along with some other senior PTI leaders considered to be Khan’s close confidantes.

The senior official maintained that these leaders had already hinted in public at how Khan asked them to build a false narrative against state institutions, especially against the Pakistan Army and its current leadership.

In her presser, former information minister Firdous Ashiq Awan stated that May 9 was a foreign backed plot in which Imran Khan is fully involved. "Pakistan and Imran Khan cannot go together, since he himself was the mastermind of all the terrorism that happened on May 9," Firdous Ashiq Awan said in her press conference.

Imran Khan promoted RAW’s agenda

Sources privy to these developments told TFT that Imran Khan, during the last year or so, has promoted the hostile Indian intelligence agency RAW’s agenda and falsely accused Pakistan Army’s top brass, including DGC Major General Faisal Naseer and Army Chief General Syed Asim Munir, based on false propaganda videos and vlogs from disgraced former army major Adil Raja, Haider Mehdi and other conspiracy theorists.

“Wasif Kazmi, one of the social media team members of PTI has already recorded a confession statement where he admits to propagating a false and malignant campaign against the armed forces in foreign countries, and Adil Raja was leading that foreign-funded campaign at RAW’s behest,” a senior official informed TFT.

Sources maintain that the FIA is currently investigating this case, and it is likely that Adil Raja and other such propagandists will be brought back to Pakistan through extradition protocols with foreign countries, or "other channels" which are currently being explored.

Disinformation spread by Khan’s like-minded vloggers

After Khan’s arrest, Raja engaged in false propaganda that Imran Khan is unconscious and that they are about to kill him. “He and Haider Mehdi also shared addresses of the military’s top brass and incited people to burn their homes,” a senior official said, while adding that Raja also claimed that there was going to be a mutiny in the Army, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) General Shamshad Akhtar would take over as army chief. Both of these conspiratorial claims turned out to be false and completely baseless, since they were fabricated to propagate the idea that Khan and his PTI were successful in creating rifts within Pakistan's most powerful institution.

‘May 9 mayhem was planned at Zaman Park’

Sources familiar with the details of investigations into the May 9 incidents told TFT that LEAs have undeniable evidence that the day's attacks on important army installations and monuments for martyrs was preplanned even before Khan’s arrest was effected. In case he was arrested, Khan wanted PTI hooligans to destroy important military installations and vandalize the Pakistan Army's general headquarters (GHQ) and other military sites, according to evidence uncovered during the course of investigations.

Sources hailing from Imran Khan’s inner circle told TFT that the PTI overestimated its support within the army, and hastily embarked on this misadventure in an attempt to weaken and malign state institutions as well as their leadership.

‘Khadija Shah, Hassan Niazi, Ali Afzal Sahi and others will also face military trial’

Sources privy to this development told TFT that country’s top brass has also decided that there will be no discrimination, and even influential people like Khadija Shah (the granddaughter of former COAS General Asif Nawaz), Hassaan Niazi (nephew of Imran Khan) and former provincial minister Ali Afzal Sahi (the son-in-law of incumbent LHC Justice Amir Bhatti) will also faces cases under the Pakistan Army Act, 1952.

“Family members of these three influential people have contacted country’s top brass for any leniency but they received a cold shoulder,” a well-placed source in Rawalpindi confirmed to TFT.

Sources said that they have documentary evidence against all three of them, including Sahi, who attacked an ISI office in Faisalabad, whereas Hassaan Niazi and Khadija Shah led the mob to attack 'Jinnah House', the designation for the Corps Commander Lahore's official residence.

Shehryar Afridi, Zartaj Gul and Murad Saeed will also be tried under Army Act 1952

Sources further said that Shehryar Afridi, who led the miscreants to GHQ, and Zartaj Gul and Murad Saeed, who incited the people to attack army installations, will also face cases under Army Act.

“Ejaz Chaudhry and his son will also face cases under Army act as their audio leak also went viral in which they are celebrating the attack on Corps Commander House,” a senior official said.

PTI leaders were not available for comment

This scribe approached a number of PTI leaders but has not yet managed to receive any response pertaining to the party's version of events, as a number of leaders still affiliated with Imran Khan and his party continue to 'remain underground' in order to evade law enforcement.

The writer is a senior correspondent at The Friday Times with a focus on politics, economy and militancy. He also hosts the Hassan Naqvi Show on Naya Daur.