Fact-check: How many people have been arrested post May 9 riots?
Over 9,000 PTI supporters and members have been arrested post the May 9 attack, show official documents from Islamabad, Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan
Updated Wednesday Jun 07 2023
Former prime minister Imran Khan alleges that the government has arrested nearly 10,000 supporters and members of his political party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), from across the country after May 9.
In response, some social media users have accused Khan of inflating the numbers.
Khan’s statement is true. Over 9,096 people have been arrested in the country in connection to the May 9 rioting, as of June 5.
In a recorded speech, aired on June 1, Imran Khan said that 10,000 workers of his party have been rounded up and thrown in jails.
The video has been viewed over one million times.
He made an identical claim in an interview with France 24 on May 27.
“I am isolated,” Khan told the Paris-based news channel, “Because all my top leadership is arrested. Over 10,000 of my workers have been arrested. Anyone who supports the PTI has either been arrested or gone underground. People are hiding now.”
But some social media users alleged that Khan is exaggerating the numbers.
“That is a false number. 10,000 workers have not been arrested. Just because he says it, it doesn’t mean it is true,” one user wrote.
Others asked for evidence of the 10,000 PTI supporters who had been arrested.
“Proof that 10,000 political workers have been arrested is Imran Khan's own statements. Need I say more?,” one Twitter user wrote.
Over 9,096 PTI supporters and members have been arrested post the May 9 attack, show official documents from Islamabad, Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.
A total of 2,971 people have been arrested in connection to the May 9 unrest in the province, reveals a police record dated June 1, shared by a senior police officer in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.
The majority of the arrests, 778, were made in Peshawar. While the cases ranged from simple police complaints to first information reports under the Anti-Terrorism Act to detention under the Maintenance of Public Order.
According to the official document, 85 police officers were also injured during riots in the province on that day.
Over 5,000 people have been arrested in Punjab, said Mubashir Hussain, the spokesperson of the Inspector General of Police Punjab. The official did not provide the exact number.
Geo Fact Check also reached out to Senior Superintendent of Police Investigation Anoosh Masood for the data, but she did not respond to Geo Fact Check’s repeated queries.
Separately, Imran Kishwar, deputy inspector general operations, provided documents related to arrests made in the Lahore district as of May 31.
The record states a total of 911 have been cuffed in the Lahore district, out of the 1,921 who were identified for arrests.
The majority of the men and women arrested have been identified through geo-fencing and the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA).
In Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital city, 564 people were arrested post-May 9, Taqi Jawad, the public relations officer of Islamabad police, confirmed to Geo Fact Check on June 3.
“Some of these people have been released as well,” he added.
A senior police officer, who is in the know, told Geo Fact Check that 48 arrests have been made till June 3 in Balochistan.
A total of 513 people have been arrested in Sindh to date, reveals a report shared with Geo Fact Check by a senior police officer in the province, who asked not to be named.
Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan
No arrests have been made in either Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan in connection to May 9, police officials confirmed to Geo Fact Check.
|Province and Units||PTI workers arrested|
|Punjab||Over 5,000 (No exact data was provided by the Punjab police)|
|AJK and GB||0|
With additional reporting by Nadia Khalid
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