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May 9 riots probe: Imran Khan fails to appear before JIT

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Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Tuesday failed to appear before a joint investigation team (JIT) and submitted his response to the investigators through his representatives in connection with a probe into the May 9 vandalism.

The JIT, formed by the Punjab caretaker government to investigate May 9 riots, refused to accept the PTI chief’s written reply in relation to the probe into arson attacks on Jinnah House (Corps Commander’s House) and the Askari Corporate Tower in Lahore following his arrest in the Al-Qadir Trust case earlier this month.

The PTI chairman and other party leaders were accused of inciting workers to violence which led to attacks on defence and public installations in many parts of the country during the three-day-long protests.

Earlier today, Khan submited his response to the JIT through his representatives — Ali Ijaz Buttar and Naeem Haider Panjutha — which was rejected by the investigators.

In his response, the former prime minister — who was ousted from office in April last year — said the deadline for replying to JIT’s notice was very limited and he was scheduled to appear before the anti-terrorism court and the high court for different cases hearings on the same day he was summoned by the probe team.

He said the anti-terrorism court of Lahore had already granted him bail in a case related to May 9 riots and added that he was under “illegal” custody of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) when the almost countrywide protest broke against his arrest.

Later, he said he was released on the order of the Supreme Court.

“I am fully cooperating with the investigating agencies despite the large number of false cases,” his response added.

He said the cases filed against him are false and “purely politically-motivated”.

The PTI chief said he was willing to cooperate with JIT in the investigation into the riots despite “violations of fundamental rights”.

“I am nominating Ali Ijaz Buttar and Naeem Haider Panjutha to appear before the JIT [on my behalf] and make arrangements for my participation in the investigation,” he added.

Khan said he has served as the 22nd prime minister of Pakistan and survived an assassination attempt on his life in Wazirabad in November last year.

Despite serious security threats, the PTI chairman said his appearance before the court was inevitable.

He also said that it would be convenient for him to join the investigation from his Zaman Park residence in Lahore or via video link in view of security concerns.

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