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Call data for March 8 and May 9 riots ‘strikingly similar’: IG Punjab


Sep 26, 2018
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Dr Usman Anwar says attacks on May 9 were meticulously planned and carried out simultaneously at specific targets

The Inspector General Police (IGP) Punjab, Dr Usman Anwar has claimed that the call data from the riots that took place on March 8 and May 9 shows significant similarities, leading to the arrest of perpetrators after successful identification.

On March 8, Ali Bilal alias Zillay Shah, allegedly died of police violence and torture after their personnel launched a crackdown on PTI activists and supporters staging a rally near party chief Imran Khan’s Zaman Town residence in Lahore to kick off its election campaign.

The Punjab police chief had later rejected the PTI’s claim that the provincial administration was responsible for the alleged murder of its activist Ali Bilal, saying his death was caused by a “road accident” and “unfortunately misinterpreted”.

Addressing a press conference in Lahore today, the IGP Punjab, flanked by other senior officers, revealed that out of the total calls analysed, 154 calls were found to be identical, while Yasmin Rashid was responsible for 41 calls.

Additionally, he said that the identities of 170 individuals involved in the incidents were traced through WhatsApp groups.

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, including Jinnah House, GHQ, and Radio Pakistan, among others.

Read more: Jinnah House attack: ATC orders Yasmin Rashid’s release

“We have record of each call made during these incidents and we are presenting them as evidence in court,” he added.

Dr Anwar highlighted that even the Pakistan Air Force was targeted during these incidents. He expressed concern over the desecration of martyrs' memorials on May 9 and denounced the propagation of propaganda against media organisations on social media platforms.

Earlier in the day, the Punjab police announced approaching the high court against the verdict of an anti-terrorism court in Lahore which ordered the release of PTI leader Yasmin Rashid in the Jinnah House attack case.

In a statement issued on Sunday through the police department’s official Twitter handle, they said that “all conspirators, planners, and perpetrators of the May 9 incident, including Dr Yasmin Rashid, would be brought to justice.”

The statement also maintained that the investigation is being carried out on “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,” added the statement.

In an unprecedented show of vandalism on May 9, protestors allegedly belonging to the PTI vandalised public and private properties and even attacked the Army's General Headquarters in Rawalpindi and the Lahore Corps Commander’s residence, a historic building which was once the Lahore residence of the founder of the nation Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

The attack took place hours after paramilitary Rangers personnel arrested the party chairman in the Al-Qadir Trust corruption case, later retitled as the £190 million National Crime Agency scandal, on the orders of the National Accountability Bureau, from the Islamabad High Court premises.

The rioting was followed by a harsh crackdown against the former ruling party leaders and workers. Several senior PTI leaders have since been arrested, and many have dissociated themselves from the party.

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