Thursday June 20, 2024

Jinnah House to remain an eyesore for visitors

By Umar Cheema
May 18, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Vandalised Jinnah House — the residence of the corps commander, Lahore — is likely to remain an eyesore for time to come as authorities have decided not to renovate it anytime soon, The News has learnt.

“That building will continue to be an eyesore. This will be a reminder for people that what PTI did with it,” said an informed official. Jinnah House turned corps commander house has become a tourist place since PTI workers vandalised it as Lahoriites are frequenting to this place. Schools are also being encouraged to arrange trips of students there.

On May 9, PTI workers ransacked this building in addition to storming at GHQ gate, failed attempts at the corps commander houses in Gujranwala and Multan as well as attacking army and air force installations in other cities. This has caused a paradigm shift not only in the mind of the army’s leadership but also triggered resentment among the ranks and files of the army.

This fury was at a display during recent visit of army chief to Peshawar Corps. Young officers were particularly upset, said an official. “We want action,” was a resounding message. Some of them declared it 9/11 for the army. Similar sentiments were noted in Quetta where DG ISI was on a visit. “This incident has united the army,” according to an informed official. More than any political liking, their institution is of the foremost importance, he said.

Vandalism of Jinnah House has personified the humiliation the army faced. The corps commander has also been removed and is presently facing inquiry, according to a source. According to police officials in Lahore, it was corps commander, Lt Gen Salman Ghani, who ordered not to resist the protesters to enter the building. There were as many as 175 army personnel deputed at the security of Jinnah House who were ordered not to resist. There were police of two police stations present under the leadership of SHOs concerned but they were also directed by the corps commander against the use of force, a police official said.

A source in the security establishment said that the corps commander had also directed their subordinate officers to vacate the check posts which led to the attacks by protesters and road block by PTI workers. The corps commander and his subordinate officers who were responsible for the security of Lahore Cantt are under investigation in order to determine from which point the breach was allowed to occur.

A government official privy to the ongoing arrests said that premier intelligence agency together with Nadra are involved in the process of identification of the criminals and hundreds of arrests have been made. Several attackers posted videos on their Facebook pages which were also useful in tracking them down.

Criminals are being divided into three categories. Those who were inside the buildings and involved in sabotage activities would be tried under Army Act whereas those carried out subversive activities from outside the buildings would be booked under Anti Terrorists Act.

Those who participated but not actively carried out any subversion will be dealt through criminal procedure act, according to the source.