Senior leader of Imran Khan’s party arrested over May 9 violence

Islamabad, Jun 21 (PTI) A senior leader from Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf party and the country’s former aviation minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan was arrested here on Wednesday over his alleged involvement in the May 9 anti-government violence.

The ex-minister of PTI was arrested in a joint raid carried out by Rawalpindi and the Capital Police who also took into custody former National Assembly member Mansoor Hayat Khan and ex-Punjab member of the provincial assembly Ammar Siddique Khan, The Dawn newspaper quoted Rawalpindi police spokesperson Inspector Sajjadul Hassan as saying.

Ghulam is among the latest of the PTI leadership to have been arrested after several of the party’s senior members including former human rights minister Shireen Mazari and former information minister Fawad Chaudhry were apprehended in the wake of May 9 violence.

Feeling the heat of legal processes, several PTI leaders have quit the party including Mazari and Chaudhury.

The official said the PTI-era aviation minister, along with others arrested, had been transferred to a police station in Taxila.

According to the official, the authorities had been searching for the former aviation minister for more than a month in relation to the May 9 violence case, in which he has also been named as a suspect among others, the report said.

Widespread violence erupted in Pakistan after PTI chief Khan was arrested by paramilitary personnel inside the Islamabad High Court on May 9. He was later released on bail.

Over 20 military installations and state buildings, including military headquarters in Rawalpindi, were damaged or torched in the violent protests that followed Khan’s arrest.

Following the riots, law enforcement agencies arrested over 10,000 party workers across Pakistan, mostly from Punjab.

Unlike some other leaders, Ghulam has not resigned from the PTI.

Khan, 70 was ousted from power in April last year after losing a no-confidence vote in his leadership, which he alleged was part of a US-led conspiracy targeting him because of his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia, China and Afghanistan.