A district court in Lahore has directed the police to register a criminal case (FIR) against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, superintendents of police (SPs), deputy superintendent of police (DSP), station house officers (SHOs) and 600 unidentified policemen for allegedly torturing Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) workers during the party’s long march.

Additional District and Sessions Judge Shahbaz Ahmad Khagga ordered the petitioner “to approach the SP investigation, city division for making the statement under section 154 CrPC, upon which the SP shall get the same recorded by the SHO concerned of the Data Darbar police station or Bhati Gate, [and] proceed in accordance with [the] law”.

Petitioner Afzal Azeem had told the court that police high-ups not only tortured PTI’s workers but also baton-charged and used tear gas on them, besides damaging their vehicles, to restrain them from joining the march.

He termed police conduct an offence of a serious as the officials tortured the citizens exercising their democratic right of protest.

Azeem informed the court that he had visited the police station concerned but the police seemed reluctant to register an FIR against the aforesaid. He prayed to the court to direct the concerned SHO to register an FIR against the aforementioned.

As the judge sought a police report, the SP concerned replied that on May 25, PTI workers created a law and order situation causing terror and fear amongst the general public upon which the district administration enforced section 144 CrPC throughout the province

He maintained that the activists raised anti-state slogans, beat police officials and abducted an employee of Punjab police, therefore, an FIR 794/22 was registered under sections 365, 427, 393,136,353,148,149,188 of PPC and 16 MPO in Bhatti Gate police station. He added that a second FIR of the same occurrence could not be registered.

Furthermore, as per the SHO’s report, the place of occurrence does not fall under the Data Darbar police station jurisdiction but within the Bhatti Gate police precincts.

After hearing the arguments, the judge directed the petitioner to approach the police station concerned to get his recorded under the aforementioned section.

Earlier, an additional district and sessions judge had also directed SHO Bhati Gate Police Station to register a criminal case against interior minister Rana Sanaullah, eight police officials including CCPO Lahore and DIG Operations, 400 unknown officials for assaulting the lawyers, torturing and damaging their vehicles when they were going to the Islamabad to join the long march.

Judge Mian Mudasar Umar Bodla gave direction to the concerned SHO to register a criminal case under section 154 CrPC and the procedures in accordance with the law.

The PML-N-led coalition government had last month failed to contain PTI activists and supporters – who while staging their “Haqeeqi Azadi March” — managed to cross all barriers and reached near D-Chowk after setting some trees and public property on fire in the Blue Area of the federal capital.

Clashes had continued throughout the day between the protesters and law-enforcement agencies at different locations in the twin cities, including Faizabad Interchange, where the roads were blocked with containers.

The clashes unfolded against a hazy backdrop of police-fired tear gas with PTI supporters and activists flexing their muscles in an unrelenting stare-down with the security personnel who resorted to firing teargas, baton-charging and detaining the marchers.

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