Senior journalist booked for May 9 violence

FIR registered against Shaheen Sehbai, Wajahat Saeed Khan, two others for “abetting mutiny”

Our Correspondent June 13, 2023
Supporters of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan throw stones after police fire tear gas to disperse them in Lahore on May 9, 2023.—File photo


Police in the federal capital have booked senior journalist Shaheen Sehbai, anchors Wajahat Saeed Khan and Syed Haider Raza Mehdi and YouTuber Adil Raja for “abetting mutiny” and inciting people to attack military installations across the country on May 9.

On May 9, angry protestors allegedly belonging to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party resorted to massive violence as they vandalized and set fire to civil and army properties and memorials after the arrest of PTI chief Imran Khan from a court premises in Islamabad.

The police registered the first information report (FIR) on Monday on the complainant a Muhammad Aslam. The complainant said he was passing by the capital’s G-11 locality on May 9 when he saw 20-25 people sharing “screenshots of tweets and video messages” of Raja, Wajahat, Mehdi and Sehbai.

 “They were inciting people to attack military installations, spread terrorism and create chaos in the country,” he alleged. Aslam said he later checked the social media accounts of the four people after the incident to discover that the incendiary tweets and messages actually belonged to them.

“After looking at their social media, it was confirmed that all these people, under a planned conspiracy and mutual agreement, are aiding anti-state agencies, defaming the military and attempting to create mutiny in the army,” he claimed.

He alleged that the persons nominated in the FIR wanted to “weaken the army” and “increase terrorism” in the country. The complaint said the accused indulged in “foolish talks” against the army with the aim to “incite terrorist activities and spread fear in the government”.

 “Moreover, their purpose is to attack government and military installations and create chaos through terrorism,” Aslam said, demanding that criminal action be taken against the social media accounts of the accused persons.

The FIR, registered at the Ramna police station, invoked sections 120B (punishment of criminal conspiracy), 121 (waging or attempting to wage war or abetting waging of war against Pakistan), 121A (conspiracy to commit offences punishable by Section 121), and 131 (abetting mutiny, or attempting to seduce a soldier, sailor or airman from his duty).

It also included sections 7 (punishment for acts of terrorism) and 21A (cordons for Terrorist Investigation) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

Talking to Express Tribune, a senior officer of the Islamabad Police said they will now seek warrants for the accused from an anti-terrorism court (ATC).

“As the accused live abroad, the police will try to get their red warrants issued and will request the government through the Ministry of Interior to use the FIA [Federal Investigation Agency] for arresting them through Interpol and their transfer to Pakistan.”

 To a question, he said the complainant has provided the police with sufficient evidence against the accused including their messages on social media.

“On the basis of this evidence, the accused will be brought to Pakistan and investigated,” he said.


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