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Thursday June 13, 2024

PM labels May 9 riots as 'attempted revolt' against armed forces, COAS

PM laments delay in legal proceedings and sentencing of accused allegedly involved in attacks, vandalism

By Ayaz Akbar Yousafzai & Web Desk
May 09, 2024
PM Shehbaz Sharif addresses a special cabinet meeting held in connection to last years May 9 riots in Islamabad on May 9, 2024. — Screengrab/YouTube/PTV News Live Stream
PM Shehbaz Sharif addresses a special cabinet meeting held in connection to last year's May 9 riots in Islamabad on May 9, 2024. — Screengrab/YouTube/PTV News Live Stream

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Thursday termed the May 9 riots as an "attempted revolt" against the country's armed forces and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir.

"This revolt was snuffed out," PM Shehbaz said during a special cabinet meeting in Islamabad in relation to last year's May 9 incident in Islamabad.

The prime minister said that the riots only an attempted insurrection against the state but also a mutiny against Army chief Gen Munir.

"This revolt was snuffed out," PM Shehbaz said in the high-level huddle which also attended by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leaders Sherry Rehman and Naveed Qamar and other allied parties of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

His remarks refer to the riots that broke out after the arrest of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan in a graft case and saw hundreds of protesters vandalising military installations across the country.

During the protests, the miscreants targeted the civil and military installations including — corps commander house in Lahore and the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi.

Commenting on the reasons behind the incident, the PM said that the attacks might not have happened if the PTI-led "puppet government" was not ousted in a constitutional manner.

The attacks might not have happened if the PDM government hadn't taken notice of various corruption scandals — such as the £190 million case and others, and if the chief election commissioner (CEC) hadn't taken notice of the foreign funding issue, he said.

He also stressed that the riots were triggered to derail the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s (PDM) government’s efforts to address the damage done to bilateral relations with friendly relations.

Furthermore, lamenting the delay in legal proceedings against alleged perpetrators, Shehbaz said: "It is worth wondering why the people accused of being involved in the riots haven’t been brought to justice and sentenced as per the law and the Constitution even after one year.

The premier further underscored that the people who orchestrated and carried out the May 9 riots are still denying it.

"Attempts are being made to distort the facts through lies," he said.

Speaking at the event, Naveed Qamar, representing the PPP, said: "We must move on from condemning the events of May 9".

" The [names] of those who were directly involved in [riots] should be revealed to the masses [and] should be tried," the PPP leader added.

'PTI directly involved in May 9 riots'

Furthermore, sources say that during the huddle, a cabinet standing committee's report on the May 9 riots, constituted by the caretaker government, was also presented by Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar.

The report revealed PTI's direct involvement in the incident, said the sources adding that the federal cabinet has decided to pass necessary laws in light of the findings.

Moreover, the attendees also called for expedited legal proceedings against the accused so that the cases could soon be concluded.

"If the elements involved in Capitol Hill were punished [then] why have the May 9 perpetrators not been punished yet," the cabinet member said while referring to the prosecution of those who stormed the United States Capitol in 2021.

Speaking to the media after the cabinet meeting, Law Minister Tarar confirmed that an inquiry report of the committee, comprising caretaker federal ministers, stressed the "irrefutable evidence" against PTI leaders for their alleged involvement in the May 9 riots.

"There is a history, trail of planning of May 9 events," Tarar said, adding that the committee has recommended amendments to the existing laws for expedited conclusion of cases.

"The committee has also recommended vandalism of state installations to be declared as a serious crime," the law minister noted.