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Monday May 20, 2024

'From needle to bedsheet, PTI workers stole everything they could get their hands on'

"They also tried to rob banks," interior minister says

By Web Desk
May 13, 2023
PTI activists and supporters of former prime minister Imran Khan celebrate after Supreme Court declared Khans arrest invalid, in Lahore on May 11, 2023. — AFP
PTI activists and supporters of former prime minister Imran Khan celebrate after Supreme Court declared Khan's arrest "invalid", in Lahore on May 11, 2023. — AFP

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan's arrest on May 9 led to chaos in several parts of the country as his supporters resorted to violent protests.

The economy took a hit during the period of three days — from May 9 to May 12 — as businesses were not only forced to close in the protest areas, but the government also shut down internet services to stop the party's dissemination of information.

But when mobs are on the streets despite law enforcers being present on site, things can go south at any moment. In the protests, around 10 people were killed and several sustained injuries.

However, this wasn't the only case.

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, in a press conference Saturday, said during the protests, the PTI workers looted shops, cattle markets, and weapons stores.

"They also tried to rob banks," the minister said.

Policemen stand along a road to prevent PTI activists and supporters of former prime minister Imran Khan from reaching the Islamabad High Court during Khans hearing, in Islamabad on May 12, 2023. — AFP
Policemen stand along a road to prevent PTI activists and supporters of former prime minister Imran Khan from reaching the Islamabad High Court during Khan's hearing, in Islamabad on May 12, 2023. — AFP

Sanaullah said the protesters did not spare even a needle and robbed clothes, a bedsheet, and anything they could get their hands on at the Lahore Corps Commander House (or Jinnah House).

"This is a worrisome and saddening event for the country," he said, slamming PTI Chairman Khan for "stealing" the nation's money in the Al-Qadir case and inciting people to protests.

In videos circulating on social media, a person could also be seen stealing a peacock during the protests.

The government and the military alike have deplored the incidents, with the latter calling PTI "hypocrites" for inciting their workers against the armed forces on the one hand and praising the military — in a bid to overshadow their criticism — on the other.

The Government of Punjab has announced handing out Rs200,000 to people who help authorities in arresting the suspects who vandalised the Lahore Corps Commander House.

The province's home department also shared the photos of the vandals and asked the public to help law enforcers track them down, noting that the identity of the informants would be kept confidential.

Khan has criticised the military in the past and following his arrest, his supporters raised the stakes by attacking military targets — torching the residence of the corps commander in Lahore and attacking the entrance to the army’s headquarters in Rawalpindi.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif earlier today directed the Punjab government to move swiftly and arrest the vandals within 72 hours.