Army takes aim at ‘planners’ of May 9 riots
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Army takes aim at ‘planners’ of May 9 riots

Apr 15, 2023

• ISPR says political leaders, workers arrested on basis of ‘irrefutable evidence’• Says trials of perpetrators and instigators underway as per Army Act, Official Secrets law• Terms attempts to hide behind ‘imaginary rights violations’ futile

ISLAMABAD: Troubles continue to multiply for the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf following the violent events of May 9-10, as the military's top brass vowed on Wednesday to tighten the noose on the "planners and masterminds" of the riots that erupted following the arrest of Imran Khan in a corruption case, leaving a number of military and government installations destroyed in its wake.

Amid flak from national and international watchdogs over alleged rights abuses, the military leadership brushed aside these insinuations, saying the protesters and politicians were arrested in connection with violent protests on the basis of "irrefutable evidence".

According to the statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR): "General Syed Asim Munir presided over the 81st Formation Commanders Conference at [the] GHQ, which was attended by corps commanders, principal staff officers and all formation commanders of Pakistan Army."

Participants were bri­efed on the prevalent environment, challenges to security i.e. both internal and external and the military's operational preparedness in response to evolving threats, both "traditional and non-traditional".

"Hostile forces and their abettors have been trying hard to create societal division and confusion through fake news and propaganda but all such designs will continue to be defeated with the full support of the nation," the army chief said, as per the statement.

The forum, while condemning the violence on May 9, reiterated its firm resolve that "desecrators of Shuhada Monuments, Jinnah House [corps commander's house in Lahore] and attackers of military installations would certainly be brought to justice speedily under the Pakistan Army Act and Official Secret[s] Act which are the derivatives of the Constitution of Pakistan".

In this regard, efforts to create distortions and attempts to take refuge behind "imaginary and mirage human rights violations to create [a] smoke screen for hiding the ugly faces of all involved, are absolutely futile and do not stand the abundantly collected irrefutable evidence".

It has been further stressed that, while the "legal trials [under army act] of perpetrators and instigators have commenced, it is time that [the] noose of law is also tightened around the planners and masterminds who mounted the hate-ripened and politically driven rebellion" against the state and state institutions to create chaos in the country.

It may be mentioned that during the protest, military installations, including the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, the Lahore corps commander's residence, an ISI office in Faisalabad, and Radio Pakistan's building in Peshawar were damaged by the protesters.

The formation commanders warned quarters concerned about the consequences of creating hurdles in the due process, with the statement saying, "The forum resolved that endeavours by any quarter to create obstructions and stymie the conclusive defeat of ill design of inimical forces will be dealt with iron hands."

The statement claimed that "unfounded and baseless allegations on law enforcement agencies and security forces for custodial torture, human rights abuses and stifling of political activities are meant to mislead the people and malign [the] armed forces in order to achieve trivial vested political interests".

‘Operational preparedness’

Also, the forum was briefed on the structural changes and niche technologies being incorporated to enhance the operational preparedness of the army besides the upgradation of essential logistic infrastructure corresponding to emerging security imperatives.

The army chief reiterated "Pakistan Army will remain committed towards their national obligations of safeguarding territorial integrity and sovereignty" of the country. He further said that people shared a deep bond with the armed forces and will "remain central to all our undertakings and events of May 25 [Martyrs Day] were a clear manifestation of [the] same".

Gen Munir commended the commanders for their constant focus on the high state of morale of their soldiers who remained the foundation of the army's operational readiness.

The forum also paid rich tribute to the sacrifices of martyrs, including officers and men of the armed forces, law enforcement agencies and civil society, who laid their lives for the country.

Published in Dawn, June 8th, 2023

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• ISPR says political leaders, workers arrested on basis of ‘irrefutable evidence’• Says trials of perpetrators and instigators underway as per Army Act, Official Secrets law• Terms attempts to hide behind ‘imaginary rights violations’ futile ‘Operational preparedness’