May 15, 2023

By Xari Jalil


As social media showed horrifying footage and images of the violence across the country, the question remained as to who was behind this. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf leaders denied that they had anything to do with those who had unleashed their anger on different parts of the country – from public property to old heritage buildings, and from burning the archives of Peshawar’s Radio Pakistan to the burning of public property.

But many of the faces were caught on video and so arrests have begun.

The worst-hit areas where riots had caused the most damage were in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and in Punjab, where the PTI has a larger stronghold.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the IG Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Akhtar Hayat Khan confirmed that 927 protesters were arrested and a total of 85 FIRs were registered as of May 15.

According to IG Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Akhtar Hayat Khan, the FIRs registered against the violent incidents there, include several charges such as murder, attempted murder, terrorism and criminal conspiracy. He said that during the protests, Radio Pakistan was set on fire while the Provincial Election Commission office was also ransacked. Many government properties were damaged, he said.

Akhtar Hayat Khan said that police raids are ongoing to carry out the arrests of the PTI leaders who incited the protesters, including Taimur Saleem Jhagra, Kamran Bangash, Shaukat Ali, Arbab Sher Ali, Fazal Elahi. , Malik Wajid, Muhammad Asif, Arif Yusuf, Yunus Zaheer, Meena Khan Afridi, former member of the provincial assembly Ishtiaq Umar, Arbab Jandad, Fazal Elahi, Malik Wajid, and several other former members of the provincial assembly are also included in the list.

According to information gathered from the FIRs, agitated people collected in the form of jathas (mobs), and blocked the GT road at different places at different times and also pelted stones and fired at the police. There was also a presence of activists from banned terrorist organizations in these violent protests.

Taliban sources themselves have stated that their ‘comrades’ were also present in the protest of the rioters and have taken part in damaging important installations. They said in a statement that their partners are trying to specifically target military installations under the guise of demonstrations.

A senior commander of the outlawed TTP spoke to media representatives in Peshawar on condition of anonymity and said that during the last few days they had caused a lot of damage to important government installations.

Meanwhile, there were several who were also killed during these violent riots. Below are the details acquired by of those who have lost their lives in Peshawar.

Bilal, a resident of Landi Kotal, was killed during the clashes in Peshawar. The son of late Zubair Shinwari and the brother of a painter Luqman, Bilal belonged to Jalu Kali Tapa Khoga Khel. Bilal was an activist of PTI, and was working in a cosmetics shop in Peshawar. Family sources claim that he was killed after a bullet entered his bedroom. He has left behind two of their children.

Zakir, son of Akram Sukna, belonged to Khadgazai Lower Dir was a PTI worker. He would often travel to Dubai for labour. Zakir was killed in the firing that took place during the riots in Chakdra Scouts, Cantonment area on May 9.

Zahidullah and Hanifullah

When PTI protested on the Indus Highway in Kohat, heavy stones were pelted at the police. It was followed by aerial firing after which the police carried out heavy tear-gas shelling. According to the police, PTI workers opened fire at the police. As a result, PTI workers Zahidullah who belonged to Samari Payan and was shopkeeper and another PTI worker Hanifullah who was unemployed and belonged to Jarma Akbarabad died on the spot due to bullet wounds.
In the exchange of fire, many police personnel belonging to Jarma police station were also injured. The deceased PTI workers were Zahidullah a shopkeeper and Hanifullah an unemployed youth.

According to a government statement, five were killed in KP and 90 were injured.


The number of arrested miscreants involved in attacks, vandalism, violence and arson on public and private institutions has reached 3,368.

Around 162 police officers and officials were seriously injured in the violent actions of the miscreants across Punjab, says the Spokesman of the Punjab Police. He added that 94 vehicles used by Punjab Police were vandalized and set on fire; 22 government buildings, including police stations and offices, were severely damaged. “The process of identifying and arresting the accused involved in violent incidents is going on,” said IG Punjab. “Those challenging the writ of the state will bring the evil elements to justice.”

For the arrests, videos of the incidents across Punjab were analysed by the Special Branch, data was also gathered from private CCTVs, social media, Punjab Safe City Authority, news media, NADRA, etc.

Suspects were identified from Lahore, from Faisalabad, from Rawalpindi and from Sialkot.

In Lahore 3 people died in protests.

On the other hand, PTI claims around 45 deaths in protests across Punjab. However, there is no police or govt confirmation of this.

On Monday evening, the IG Punjab condemned the violence, saying there were videos of ‘evil elements’, and that 200 people have been arrested. “Can any political party have so many miscreants? 132 people who attacked Cork Commander House have been arrested, and a national loss of 600 crore rupees has been endured. He said a total of 3200 people were arrested. If such attacks happen in the future, retaliatory action will be taken as it was taken in those places where the attacks were carried out.”

IG Punjab also said that there were audio leaks that proved that everything was pre-planned. There were female SHO and ASP who were harassed by protesters. He clarified that the operation was still ongoing on behalf of the police and that many areas had been cleared.


At least 86 suspects have been arrested across the province by the police, including a provincial minister, the brother of PTI leader and former Speaker National Assembly, Qasim Suri.

Section 144 has been imposed across Balochistan. The federal government has approved the summary to depute Army in Balochistan, after a letter was sent by the Balochistan government.

Balochistan Assembly has passed a resolution against the May 9 violent protests, calling for action against those involved.

Meanwhile, one man was killed in Quetta after there was a firing during a PTI rally, according to a police statement. He was taken to the hospital and succumbed to his injuries according to the FIR.

The incident of firing took place near the Askari check post Quetta both Army, police & FC were present. There is no confirmed report as to who fired at him, as the law enforcement agency had fired to disperse the angry mob. The name of the deceased was Omar Aziz.



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