Even as Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) workers, protestors and former ministers face prosecution, arrests and harassment from law enforcement agencies in the aftermath of PTI chairperson and deposed prime minister Imran Khan’s arrest, subsequent release, and May 9 riots, certain individuals of the party’s top leadership have managed to evade arrest or get relief from the courts.
Among them are PTI Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) chapter in-charge, who had called for “peaceful protests” on a daily basis on May 11, and former K-P chief minister Mahmood Khan. This was shortly before the party’s leadership in K-P reportedly went underground with their mobile phones found switched off and silence observed from them on social media. Other party leaders, including former provincial minister Taimur Khan Jhagra, former MPAs Kamran Bangash and Atif Khan, have had their homes and offices raided multiple times but have not been arrested yet. Meanwhile, no former female PTI MPA has had cases lodged against her while Murad Saeed has reportedly fled the country.
Former CM Pervez Khattak has no cases registered against him in Nowshera whereas his sons Ibrahim Khattak and Imran Khattak are also safe from prosecution because they reportedly did not partake in any violent protest.
Similarly, no FIR has been lodged against Mahmood Khan in any police station across K-P. He hasn’t been named in FIRs lodged in Malakand over May 9, 10 protests either.
Meanwhile, in Swabi, former K-P deputy Provincial Assembly speaker Mehmood Jan managed to procure pre-arrest bail from court. He remains underground, however.
Atif Khan also has no FIR lodged against him in Mardan. Officials told The Express Tribune that he was not witnessed participating in violent protests or vandalism in the aftermath of Imran’s arrest.
In Charsadda, PTI MNA Malik Anwar Taj has also acquired pre-arrest bail and remains in hiding.
Another PTI leader in Swabi, Shahram Khan Tarakai, has a case registered against him with law enforcement authorities conducting multiple raids for his arrest.
Multiple raids in Swat have also been conducted for the arrest of former federal minister Murad Saeed. He faces accusations of hate speech against state institutions. His homes in Swat and Islamabad were raided multiple times but he could not be arrested. Rumours abound of him having fled the country.
Another PTI leader who has managed to evade arrest despite 11 raids at his residences in Chamkani and Cantt is Kamran Bangash. Officials told The Express Tribune that Bangash faces charges pertaining to terrorism with an FIR lodged against him in Peshawar.
The police have also raided the residence of Taimur Jhagra four times in Hayattabad but could not arrest him. Similarly, the police have raided former MPA Atif Khan’s residence and petrol pump seven times but could not arrest him either.
However, the police officials did confirm the arrest of former provincial minister Imtiaz Shahid Qureshi in Kohat.
Former Peshawar MPA Arbab Jahandad also managed to acquire bail in a case registered against him in Chamkani but he has been arrested in another case.
Officials told The Express Tribune that the assistance of federal investigating authorities is being sought for the arrests of other PTI leaders and former ministers as well as MPAs and MNAs named in anti-terrorism cases in K-P.
Lower-tier PTI leaders and frontline workers who are currently under fire on social media for the protests that caused mayhem on May 9 and 10 have expressed shock at the evasion of arrest by top leadership.