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Thursday June 13, 2024

All responsible for May 9 vandalism will be brought to book: COAS

COAS says attempt to violate sanctity, security of armed forces installations or vandalism won’t be tolerated

By News Agencies & our correspondents
May 14, 2023
Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir delivers a speech in this undated file photo.— ISPR
Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir delivers a speech in this undated file photo.— ISPR

RAWALPINDI/LAHORE: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Syed Asim Munir on Saturday said the Pakistan Armed Forces would not tolerate any further attempt of violating the sanctity and security of its installations or vandalism and resolved to bring to justice all the planners, abettors, instigators and executors of vandalism on the Black Day of May 9.

This was stated by the COAS while addressing officers during his visit to the Peshawar Corps Headquarters on Saturday.

Addressing the officers of the corps, General Asim emphasised on the evolving threats to national security.

“We shall continue with our endeavours of peace and stability and there would be no room for spoilers of the process,” he said.

The COAS also sensitised about the challenges of information warfare and efforts to create misperceptions. He highlighted that a concerted effort is being made maliciously by inimical elements to target the armed forces and pledged that such nefarious attempts would be foiled through the support of the people of Pakistan.

The COAS was given a detailed briefing on the prevailing security situation and ongoing counter-terrorism efforts. He appreciated the professional competence, performance and achievements of law enforcement agencies in the ongoing fight against terrorism.

Earlier on arrival, General Asim Munir was received by the Peshawar corps commander.

Separately, chairing a high-level meeting in Lahore, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif directed to identify and arrest all criminals involved in attacks on national facilities and buildings within the next 72 hours.

The meeting was called to review the law and order situation.

The prime minister stated that on May 9, the heartbreaking events of the country’s 75-year history took place.

“Jinnah House Lahore was ransacked and burnt and its sanctity was violated,” he said, adding that it was a matter of regret and concern for us that what our eternal enemy could never do was done by the followers of a political party through prior planning and provocation.

“In the process of identifying the attackers, it should be ensured that no innocent person is caught,” the prime minister said, adding that the services of Nadra and security agencies should be hired so that the cordon can be tightened against the evil elements as soon as possible.

Talking to the participants of the meeting, he said the army and civil servants were seriously injured. He further said that today every patriotic Pakistani was saddened by the events of May 9.

He directed the authorities concerned to identify all the miscreants involved in attacks on national facilities and buildings and arrest them within 72 hours. The prime minister further said that legal requirements should not be ignored in this regard.

He directed the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa IGPs to enlist the services of Nadra and security agencies so as to encircle the evil elements as soon as possible.

Federal Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, Minister for Law and Justice Azam Nazir Tarar, Adviser to PM Ahad Cheema, Punjab caretaker CM Mohsin Naqvi, SAPM Malik Ahmad Khan, Punjab, KP chief secretaries, IGPs were also present.

Meanwhile, the prime minister visited the Jinnah House that was vandalised on May 9, where he said that Imran Niazi was responsible for the barbaric act of torching of corps commander’s house in Lahore as he planned and instigated the act of arson.

The prime minister said the planners, instigators and abettors behind this attack would not be given any relief. He said Jinnah House was the home of Lahore corps commander, which was tragically and cruelly burnt on May 9.

The rioters attacked and set the house on fire, he said, adding that the arsonists did not care that it was a historical building and the army officer and his family were living there. The building was inhabited by a son of the land who was on duty to protect his motherland, he remarked.

“This was a cruel and anti-state act which never happened before in the 75 years history of the country.”

Shehbaz said that he was saddened while talking about the incident and said nobody thought that such an incident could happen.

This nation was feeling shy and it was grieving after this episode, he added.

He said that those who perpetrated this act would be brought to justice, adding that such elements would be dealt with iron hands of the Constitution and law by giving them an exemplary punishment according to law and the world would remember their fate for a long time.

Shehbaz Sharif said that the barbaric act was committed against those sons of the soil who were eradicating terrorism for maintaining peace in the country. It was an act against those who sacrificed their lives to protect our borders and their wives become widows and their children become orphans, he added.

During his visit to the Combined Military Hospital and Services Hospital Lahore, the prime minister inquired after the well-being of the officers, including DIG Operations Ali Nasir Rizvi and jawans who were injured while performing their duties during rioting.

Punjab caretaker chief minister Mohsin Naqvi and senior army and civil officers accompanied the prime minister.

The Lahore Police Saturday registered cases under terrorism charges after identifying several more miscreants involved in the torching, ransacking and stealing things at the Jinnah House. The law enforcers are busy in identifying such elements.

The city police have registered cases against the miscreants under terror charges.

According to the FIR, the violent Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) workers were equipped with firearms, clubs, stones and petrol bombs.

The Punjab Home Department has also issued pictures of the miscreants and has offered a bounty of Rs200,000 for identifying each person.

The spokesperson for Punjab Police said that the number of arrested miscreants involved in attacks, vandalism, violence and arson on public and private institutions reached 2,894. Moreover, 152 police officers and personnel were seriously injured in the violent actions of miscreants throughout Punjab. As many as 74 vehicles used by the Punjab Police were vandalised and set on fire.

The spokesperson further said that 22 government buildings, including police stations and offices, were severely damaged.

Police and law enforcement officials have also begun checking social media accounts. According to the police, photographs are being sent to Nadra for identification. The social media accounts of miscreants have been put on tracking. More 200 people involved in the attack on the Jinnah House have also been arrested.

The federal capital police, meanwhile, rounded up 549 people, nominated in 24 FIRs lodged with different police stations of Islamabad. They were charged with violent protests after Imran’s arrest.

IGP Islamabad Dr Akbar Nasir told The News that 380 PTI activists were in jails on judicial remand including 98 arrested by the City Zone police stations, 93 by the police of Sadar Zone, 103 rounded up by Industrial Area Zone and 86 by Rural Zone police stations. He said 11 PTI leaders were found involved in inciting mob to violence. “Six accused were freed on bail by the court of law, while five others were discharged from the cases,” he said.

According to a police report, 147 suspects of involvement in violence are still in lockups of different police stations for further investigation.

Party leaders, including PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi, former MNA Asad Umar, Senator Ejaz Chaudhry, ex-minister Fawad Chaudhry, Jamshed Iqbal Cheema, Musarrat Jamshed Cheema, Malaika Bokhari, Falak Naz Chitrali, Ali Mohammad Khan, Col (retd) Ajmal Sabar and Shireen Mehrunnisa Mazari, have been detained under Article 3 of the Maintenance of Public Order), the police report said.

Police sources hoped that all the suspects would be rounded up within 72 hours.

Meanwhile, a Special Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Multan granted interim bail to more than 29 PTI workers, who were booked for allegedly spreading terror, disturbing public peace, carrying out violent acts, damaging the government properties and attacking the police.

Meanwhile, the Punjab caretaker government has decided to constitute a joint investigation team (JIT) to probe sorrowful incidents of setting ablaze the Jinnah House along with vandalising military and civil installations.

The decision was taken in a meeting chaired by Punjab caretaker chief minister Mohsin Naqvi at the Punjab Safe Cities Authority (PSCA) head office. The meeting was called to review the law and order situation.

The meeting further decided that the JIT, after investigating the incidents, will submit a comprehensive report to the government. Naqvi ordered further expediting crackdown in order to bring all the miscreants in the stern grip of law.

He also directed to undertake geo-fencing of all places being vandalized, adding that all cases against the miscreants will be put to trial in the anti-terrorism court. He directed the Public Prosecution department to ensure speedy trial of all cases. He underscored that every miscreant will be brought in the court of law along with witnesses and solid proof.

The caretaker CM asserted that the miscreant elements launching an onslaught on the Jinnah House along with civil and private properties will not go scot-free.

Naqvi emphasised to adopt a zero tolerance policy against the miscreants, adding that InshaAllah educational institutions will be opened on May 15 (Monday).

Inspector General of Police Doctor Usman Anwar gave a briefing on the law and order situation in the province and launching a crackdown against the miscreants.

Provincial Information Minister Amir Mir, chief secretary, IGP and other officials concerned attended the meeting via video link.

In a tweet, the interim CM remarked that whosoever was making statements against the Pakistan Army and its generals was an enemy of the State of Pakistan. He outlined: “Pakistan Army Zindabad, Pakistan Paindabad.”