ISLAMABAD: Pakistani authorities handed over 33 civilians to the military for trial in a military court over their alleged involvement in May 9 violent protests, the interior minister said Friday, reported Anadolu.
Speaking to reporters in the capital Islamabad, Rana Sanaullah said that so far, 499 first information reports (FIRs) had been registered across the country, and arrested thousands of people.
“So far, 499 FIRs (first information reports) have been registered across the country and only 88 were under the anti-terrorism act (ATA),“ Sanaullah told reporters, broadcasted by state-run Pakistan Television.
He added that 3,946 people were arrested under the ATA, while 5,536 were under other laws.
Former Prime Minister Imran Khan earlier said over 10,000 of his party workers and supporters were arrested by the government across the country.
However, Sanaullah claimed nearly 4,000 are in government custody, while 80 per cent of 5,536, arrested under other laws, have been released on bail.
He also confirmed that so far, 19 people in Punjab province and 14 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province were handed over to the military for trial in military courts.
His statement came after the UN Commission on Human Rights and other global rights groups expressed concerns over the trial of civilian and political workers in military courts.
On Wednesday, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk in a statement expressed deep concerns over the situation in Pakistan and said hard-earned gains and the rule of law are at serious risk.
“I am alarmed by the recent escalation of violence, and by reports of mass arrests carried out under problematic laws – arrests that may amount to arbitrary detention. Particularly disturbing are reports that Pakistan intends to revive the use of military courts to try civilians – which would contravene its international human rights law obligations,“ he said.
However, Sanaullah clarified that the government has no intention to send all cases for trial to military courts.
Regarding the ban on Khan’s party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Sanaullah said that so far, no decision has been taken to ban the PTI, however, their legal team is working on it.
On May 9, after the arrest of Khan by the country’s National Accountability Bureau in an alleged corruption case, which was later declared illegal by the country’s top court, sparked protests by his supporters, and attacks on state and military installations.
Since then, thousands of suspects, including top PTI leaders have been detained, and the army says it will try the rioters under military laws.t
Meanwhile, Pakistani authorities placed Khan on a temporary no-fly list and barred him from flying outside the country.
“Currently, we have put several names on a temporary no-fly list and later will decide to include them on Exit Control List (ECL) after due process,“ the interior minister said.
Reacting to the government’s decision, Khan said he has no plan to leave the country.
“I want to thank the government for putting my name on the ECL as I have no plans to travel abroad because I neither have any properties or businesses abroad nor even a bank account outside the country,“ Khan tweeted.
“If and when I do get an opportunity for a holiday, it will be in our northern mountains, my favorite place on earth,“ he added.-Bernama