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Khan with his wife Bushra Bibi arrive to appear at a high court in Lahore on May 15, 2023. Image Credit: AFP

Islamabad: The Pakistan federal government has decided to add the names of 80 people, including PTI Chairman Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi, to the no-fly list, the media reported.

Those included in the no-fly list and barred from travelling abroad include Imran Khan, Bushra Bibi PTI leaders Murad Saeed, Maleeka Bukhari, Fawad Chaudhry and Hammad Azhar, Dawn and Samaa TV reported.

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PTI’s Qasim Suri, Asad Qaiser, Dr. Yasmin Rashid and Mian Aslam are also included in the no-fly list, Samaa TV reported.

The names of all the PTI leaders were put in the list on the recommendation of the institutions concerned.

The police department, National Accountability Bureau and the anti-corruption department had requested the Ministry of Interior to include these names to the no-fly list.

Earlier, the Lahore police sent names of over 700 PTI leaders to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to impose a restriction on their foreign travel for one month, Dawn reported.

The Pakistan Punjab government has also decided to expedite legal proceedings against those involved in riots and arson.

The 746 PTI leaders and activists have been on the authorities’ radar for their alleged involvement in the May 9 violence following the arrest of PTI Chairman Imran Khan.

List sent

The FIA has been requested to place their names on the Provisional National Identification List (PNIL) - which temporarily bars people from travelling abroad, Dawn reported.

The list sent to the FIA included the names of fashion designer Khadija Shah, PTI’s senior leader Shafqat Mahmood, Imran Khan’s nephew Hassaan Niazi, PTI’s supporter Sanam Javed Khan, who got famous after her protests outside Zaman Park, and others.

The travel restrictions were proposed by the police after PTI leaders were identified through footage obtained from Punjab Safe City cameras, video clips, Nadra’s database, reports from intelligence agencies and other sources, Dawn reported.

According to the police, the accused had stormed and attacked the military installations on May 9.

Meanwhile, a Pakistani court in the eastern city of Lahore on Thursday handed 16 civilians over to the military for trial over their suspected involvement in violent protests following the arrest of former Prime Minister Imran Khan this month.

The military said after the violence that the suspects would be tried in military courts, used primarily to try enemies of the state.

Khan was arrested on May 9. Two days later, the Supreme Court ruled that the arrest was unlawful .

Separate system from the civilian legal system

The protests following Khan’s arrest by the anti-graft agency included people storming military installations, including the house of a top general in Lahore, which was set ablaze.

Thousands of people, mostly supporters of former cricket hero Khan, have been rounded up since.

One of the 16 suspects is a member of Khan’s political party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), and had been chosen by Khan to run in the next provincial elections, a senior member of Khan’s legal team, Azhar Siddique, told Reuters.

“The 16 will be investigated by the military and tried in military courts,” he said.

Military courts operate under a separate system from the civilian legal system. Trials are closed to outsiders, and no media is allowed. Rights groups have criticised the secretive nature of the process.

The protests coincided with Pakistan’s worst economic crisis in decades, with record high inflation, anaemic growth and IMF funding delayed for months, prompting concerns that the country could default on its external payment obligations.

The military has ruled the South Asian nation for almost half its history through three coups.