Punjab IGP claims that police have enough evidence against rioters including Dr Yasmin Rashid
Punjab province’s top cop has claimed that May 9 attacks on civil and military installations were planned by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leadership a day earlier on May 8 as evidenced by the call data record (CDR) of some PTI leaders, including leader Dr Yasim Rashid.
“The CDR of the PTI leaders from May 8 and May 9 shows significant similarities,” said Punjab Inspector General Police (IGP) Dr Usman Anwar on Sunday while addressing a press conference in Punjab’s provincial capital.
“The CDR data analysis shows that 215 calls were made by the PTI leaders to the rioters attacking [the Corps Commander House in Lahore]. The PTI leaders made 157 calls to the same people on May 8. The attacks on military installations were planned at a central point,” he added.
In an unprecedented show of vandalism, protestors allegedly belonging to the PTI on May 9 set fire to public and private properties and even attacked the GHQ and the Lahore Corps Commander’s residence after paramilitary Rangers arrested the PTI chairman in a corruption case from Islamabad.
After these attacks, the government launched a massive crackdown against the party and rounded up hundreds of PTI leaders and workers including Dr Rashid who was accused of abetting the attack on Lahore Corps Commander House.
However, an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Lahore on Saturday discharged Dr Yasmin Rashid along with 23 others and ordered authorities to set her free.
In a brief order issued after the hearing, the judge said perusal of record revealed that Dr Rashid was neither nominated in the first information report (FIR) lodged after the May 9 vandalism in Lahore nor involved in the case through a supplementary statement.
“She was summoned in the case on the disclosure of a co-accused which has no evidentiary value in the eyes of the law. Since no incriminating evidence is available on record to connect her with the commission of [the offense],” the order said.
Taking exception to the court’s order, the IGP said the court gave the verdict even before completion of police investigation. “We had requested the court to remand Dr Rashid in our custody for further investigation [involving photogrammetry, voice match tests and recovery of mobile phones].
Read Jinnah House attack: ATC orders Yasmin Rashid’s release
“We have evidence of Dr Rashid’s presence at Jinnah House and her phone calls and needed her mobile phone to get its forensic examination done.”
The IGP revealed that out of the total calls analysed, 154 calls were found to be identical, while Dr Yasmin Rashid was responsible for 41 calls. Additionally, he said, the identities of 170 individuals involved in the incidents were traced through WhatsApp groups.
“WhatsApp calls and other data will also be presented in the court,” he said, adding that the police will challenge the ATC’s decision in the Lahore High Court (LHC).
Further shedding light on the events that transpired on May 9, the IGP Punjab explained that the attacks were meticulously planned and carried out simultaneously at specific targets.
Earlier in the day, the Punjab police announced approaching the high court against the verdict of the ATC in Lahore which ordered the release of PTI leader Dr Yasmin Rashid in the Jinnah House attack case.
In a statement issued on Sunday through the police department’s official Twitter handle, it said “all conspirators, planners, and perpetrators of the May 9 incident, including Dr Rashid, would be brought to justice.”
The statement also maintained that the investigation is being carried out along “scientific lines”.
“The court order is being challenged as police were not given the opportunity to present forensic evidence in the case. The court (ATC) order will attain finality after the order of the high court,” it added.
Separately, the Punjab Forensic Science Agency has issued a report that said Dr Yasmin Rashid was present at the Jinnah House during the May 9 attack as evidenced by a total of three audios and videos.
These audio and videos were sent to the agency Superintendent Police (SP) Investigation Cantt.