No vendetta but rioters won’t be forgiven, says Shehbaz

Pakistan floods

NA backs May 9 rioters’ trial under military laws

Ijaz Kakakhel

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday made it clear that rioters involved in attacking military installations will be tried under the Army Act, whereas others will be dealt under Anti-Terrorism Act.

Speaking on the floor of the National Assembly on Monday, he said we have no vendetta against anyone but those, who desecrated the monuments of our martyrs and heroes as well as ransacked civilian properties, will not be spared.

He said such elements must be brought to justice. Acknowledging sacrifices and contribution of the armed forces, Shehbaz Sharif said he inaugurated the National Games in Quetta after a gap of 19 years and this dream was materialized as a result of security forces’ efforts.

The Prime Minister also clarified that no new law was being enacted for the trial of the attackers on military installations.

Addressing the National Assembly after it adopted a resolution condemning the incidents that took place on May 9. He emphasized that everything that was set on fire on May 9 was entrusted to the government by the people, and he vowed to ensure compensation for every penny of damage caused.

Expressing his concern, the prime minister pointed out that the destruction included monuments dedicated to the martyrs and Ghazis who sacrificed their lives for the nation. He questioned whether it was not an act of hostility towards the state to target and damage these symbols of valour and sacrifice.

Referring to Imran Khan’s tweet, where he claimed that he did not sack General Asim Munir, who was then-DG ISI, because he showed proofs of corruption of his wife, the prime minister denied Imran’s claims. He clarified that Gen Asim Munir was removed from his post because he stood before the then-prime minister. The incumbent prime minister also accused the former premier of damaging Pakistan’s relations with friendly countries, including China.

“If leniency is done in this, this country won’t last,” the premier said. “This is an incident which is out of our control and is the mandate of the public.”

“Day and night lies on lies were said and the fallacy of a conspiracy by the US was sown in the minds of people.

“But today, phone calls are being made to the same country. But, our foreign relations were destroyed,” PM Shehbaz decried, referring to PTI chief Imran Khan’s “baseless accusations against the US”.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif claimed that he was not aware of the arrest warrants issued by the National Accountability Bureau for PTI Chairman Imran Khan.

“But as the result of it, the destruction that ensued in the country, we have never seen such incidents before.”

“But is Rs60 billion a normal thing? Here, the entire opposition was pushed against the wall because of fake cases but not even a single pot was broken,” the premier said.

“This Rs60 billion didn’t come to the national exchequer but went to some account in the Supreme Court […] this is straight corruption and the cabinet of at the time approved a sealed envelope.”

Earlier, the National Assembly approved a resolution denouncing the violent protests organized that erupted nationwide following the detention of Imran Khan.

Defense Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif presented a resolution condemning the events of May 9. Defense Minister Khawaja Asif presented the condemnation resolution and said that the cases of May 9 attacks will be conducted according to the existing laws, adding that the cases will be conducted under the Army Act and Anti-Terrorism Act.

Expressing its full faith in and complete solidarity and support for the armed forces of Pakistan, the House resolved that 9th May be reckoned as the Black Day. It said all abettors, planners, facilitators and those directly or indirectly involved in arson and ransacking military installations as well as public and private properties should be prosecuted and tried under the existing laws of the country, including the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997, Army Act 1952, and Pakistan Penal Code 1860.

The House urged all relevant authorities to implement social media rules and regulations in order to tackle propaganda being unleashed against the country’s institutions both from within and outside of Pakistan under the patronage and facilitation from multiple players. Those involved in such propaganda campaigns should strictly be dealt with as per law.

Asif questioned Imran Khan’s claim of being unaware of outside events during his imprisonment, citing the availability of telephone facilities. The minister expressed concern over damaging of national identity and questioned the identity of those responsible for inciting the attacks.