Centre calls in Army to quell violence in Islamabad, Punjab, KP.
ISLAMABAD – Pakistan Army Wednesday said that May 9 will be remembered as a ‘Black Chapter’ in the country’s history because of the violent and deadly protests by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Isnaf (PTI) party following the arrest of its Chairman Imran Khan on corruption charges.
The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Directorate in a press release said that the protests that took place following the arrest of PTI Chairman Imran Khan specifically targeted army property and its installations.
In the strongly-worded statement, the ISPR said that no one would be allowed to take the law into their hands as it termed the arrest of Imran Khan from the Islamabad High Court as per law. The ISPR highlighted that the aftermath of Imran Khan’s arrest witnessed a wave of attacks on the army’s properties and installations, accompanied by anti-army slogans by the activists. It condemned these actions and expressed its concerns regarding the tactics being employed by certain elements within the protesting groups.
“The thing that the eternal enemies of the country could not do in the last 75 years has been done by a power-hungry faction in the garb of political attire,” said the ISPR statement. It criticised the protesters, describing their actions as an attempt to manipulate the nation’s sentiments for their own limited and selfish objectives. It further accused them of deceiving the people by simultaneously highlighting the importance of the army. “On one hand, these criminal elements exploit the public sentiment for their limited and self-serving objectives and on the other continue harping the importance of the army for the country which can best be described as hypocrisy,” said the statement.
‘ARMY’S PRUDENT STRATEGY’
The ISPR denounced the contradicting stance taken by those involved in the protests as it emphasised the significance of maintaining law and order, highlighting the need to respect the institutions of the country. The statement also added that the Army demonstrated extreme tolerance, patience, and restraint and has shown utmost patience and endurance in the best interests of the country, putting their own reputation at stake even. “As per strategy, a situation was created to invite the army’s response for nefarious political purposes which was thwarted by the Army’s prudent strategy,” it added. “We are well aware that behind this, there were some orders, instructions, and complete planning of some leaders of the party.”
The ISPR warned that those who were involved in facilitating, planning and political instigation have been identified, and strict action will be taken against them according to the law, adding that all rogue elements will face the consequences. “In the event of any further attack on military and state installations and properties, including all law-enforcement agencies and state institutions, the military, along with all the law-enforcement agencies, will respond with strong and decisive action, and the complete responsibility will lie with the ‘group’ that intends to drag Pakistan into a civil war and has already expressed it multiple times,” it said. The statement emphasised that no one would be allowed to incite the public or take the law into their own hands.
The statement from the ISPR came amidst an escalating tension between the political party and the establishment in the wake of Imran Khan’s arrest. The government’s decision to nab the PTI Chairman has been met with mixed reaction, also resulting in protests across Pakistan. The demonstrations witnessed clashes between protestors and the law-enforcement agencies, leading to property damage and disruptions in several areas.
‘ARMY DEPLOYMENT IN PUNJAB’
The government approved the deployment of Army in Punjab on the request of the provincial Home Department. According to a notification issued by the Interior Ministry in this regard, the services of ten companies of Pakistan Army were handed over to Punjab government. The Army will assist the district administrations to maintain law and order across the province.
Originally published at www.nation.com.pk