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May 9 to go down as 'dark chapter' in Pakistan's history: Army

Military warns of “severe retaliation” in case of further attacks

By Web Desk
May 10, 2023
Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) addresses a press conference in Rawalpindi on April 25, 2023, in this still taken from a video. — YouTube/GeoNews
Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) addresses a press conference in Rawalpindi on April 25, 2023, in this still taken from a video. — YouTube/GeoNews

RAWALPINDI: The Pakistan Army — in a rare response — said Wednesday that May 9, 2023, will be remembered as a "dark chapter" in the country's history — the day when chaos gripped the nation following Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan's arrest in the Al-Qadir Trust case.

In a statement, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said after the PTI chief’s arrest from the Islamabad High Court on National Accountability Bureau’s orders, a “well-thought-out plan” was witnessed in which the army was targetted.

“Soon after [Khan’s arrest], there were organised attacks on army properties and installations and anti-army slogans were raised,” the military’s media wing said.

The ISPR called the PTI leaders “hypocrites” for inciting their workers against the armed forces on the one hand, and other, they were praising the military — in a bid to overshadow their criticism.

“On the one hand, these evil elements vigorously stir up public sentiments to fulfil their narrow and selfish goals and on the other, they do not get tired of highlighting the importance of the army for the country while throwing dust in the eyes of the people. This is an example of hypocrisy.”

The military’s media wing added that a group of people — draping political garb in their lust for power — have done unprecedented damages to the country that Pakistan’s enemies since its inception have not.

“The army showed extreme patience, tolerance and restraint and without caring about its own reputation worked with extreme patience and endurance in the wider interest of the country.”

The statement mentioned that when such a situation was created under nefarious, a heinous bid was made to force the military to give an immediate response, which could be used for nefarious political purposes.

“The army’s mature response, however, thwarted this conspiracy. We are well aware that behind it were orders, directives and complete pre-planning by some sinister party leadership,” the statement added.

The facilitators, planners, and political activists involved in the protests have been identified and now, strict action will be taken against them “in line with the law and all these evil elements will now be responsible for the consequences”, the army said.

The ISPR added that any further attack — by the “very group that wants to push Pakistan into a civil war” — on the army, including all law enforcement agencies, military, and state installations and properties will be met with severe retaliation.

“No one can be allowed to incite people and take the law into their hands,” the ISPR added. 

The PTI chief's arrest triggered severe protests from the party workers, who took to the streets across the country, damaging public and private property. Amid the chaos, at least four people have lost their lives so far.

The drama follows months of political crisis during which Khan, who was ousted in April last year, has waged an unprecedented campaign against the establishment and the government.

The ongoing protests — which have entered the second day — seem to have no sign of stopping as an accountability court has sent the deposed prime minister on an eight-day physical remand.