Army says 'no compromise' with May 9 planners, executors

Army renews pledge to defend sovereignty, territorial integrity of Pakistan against internal and external enemies

Our Correspondent May 09, 2024
The Jinnah House (Lahore Corps Commander House), which was set afire by supporters of former prime minister Imran Khan during a protest against his arrest, in Lahore, on May 9, 2023. PHOTO: Reuters/FILE

The Pakistan Army said on Thursday that there will be no compromise with the "planners, facilitators and executors" of the May 9 tragedy and neither would they be allowed to "hoodwink the law of the land".

The military, strongly condemning the incidents of the day, said politically motivated and "brainwashed miscreants" deliberately resorted to violence against state institutions and vandalised sacred symbols of the state sites of national heritage "in an act of rebellion". 

In a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the military said the events were a "futile attempt" to bring about a misplaced and shortsighted revolution in the country. 

 "By displaying utmost restraint during this deliberate and brazenly orchestrated violence, Pakistan armed forces thwarted the insidious conspiracy by the planners, facilitators and executors who wanted to destabilise Pakistan by inciting confrontation between the people and the armed forces," said the military's media wing. 

Elaborating further, the army said the planners, facilitators and executors of the conspiracy, after failing to undermine national harmony and stability, embarked upon a "sinister campaign of hate" against the armed forces and the state and tried to twist the narrative to their advantage and "shift the blame on the state institutions". 

The ISPR stated that to ensure that "no one dares to desecrate the memories of our heroes and the symbols of our unity", it is imperative that the real culprits of the May 9 riots are brought to justice. 

Renewing the resolve to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan and defeating the nefarious designs of the country's enemies, both external and internal, the armed forces pledged to "uphold their dignity and respect" of the martyrs and their families "at all costs". 

"Pakistan Armed Forces hold a very special relationship with the people of Pakistan. Today, let’s join hands to strongly denounce the conspiracies to weaken Pakistan and work together for the prosperity and stability of our beloved country," said the ISPR. 

May 9 riots

Country-wide protests targeting sensitive state and military installations erupted following former premier Imran Khan's arrest from the Islamabad High Court (IHC) premises on May 9, 2023.

The installations attacked included the army’s General Headquarters in Rawalpindi and the corps commander's house in Lahore.

The Radio Pakistan premises in Peshawar was also targeted as protesters set fire to the main building.

IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq took notice of the matter and summoned the Islamabad IGP. Later in the evening, the IHC termed Imran’s arrest from court premises in the Al-Qadir Trust case “legal”.

Justice Farooq observed that Imran’s release order would be issued if any illegality was committed in the compliance of arrest warrants.

However, a day later, the Supreme Court declared Imran’s arrest from the IHC premises ‘illegal’ and directed his immediate release.

The government responded with a mobile internet blockade and a crackdown against PTI leaders, workers, and supporters, as well as those perceived to be allied with the party's cause within the media and legal fraternity.

The events of the day reportedly left eight protesters dead, over 190 police officers injured, and hundreds arrested.

On May 10, Section 144 was imposed across the country and military deployment was ordered in an attempt to quell the riots.

Imran Khan later claimed that he was hit on the head with batons as Rangers personnel arrested him. He said that NAB's treatment toward him during custody was "alright".

When asked about the violent protests that followed his arrest on May 9, Imran asked how could he have stopped the riots, adding that he did earlier warn of a “reaction” if he was arrested.

To apologize or not

In a press conference held two days ago, the Director General of the ISPR sought a sincere and public apology from the incarcerated ex-premier for May 9 events and asked him to shun what it called “politics of anarchy and hate” to revive his political fortunes.

DG Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Ahmed Sharif dismissed the possibility of any ‘deal’ with the PTI founder, saying there won’t be any talks with “anarchists.”

He said the army was ready for the formation of a judicial commission on the events, however, he denied PTI’s 'narrative' that May 9 was a 'false flag operation'.

The DG ISPR said, “May 9 is not a hidden thing, the irrefutable evidence of happenings is also with the public.”

However, Imran refused to tender an apology for the May 9 events following the army’s demand.

"Why should the onus be on me to apologize? The apology should be directed towards me," the ousted prime minister said during a casual interaction with reporters at Adiala jail.


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