Saturday June 15, 2024

Some judges have decided to hear case against themselves: Khawaja Asif

The defence minister terms May 9 planned insurrection; sees Imran as the main culprit behind rebellion plot

By Sher Ali Khalti
May 27, 2023
Federal Minister for Defence Khawaja Asif. — AFP/File
Federal Minister for Defence Khawaja Asif. — AFP/File

LAHORE: Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif sarcastically said on Friday that a group of judges had decided to take up the hearing of cases against them. He was talking to the media after visiting the burnt Jinnah House [corps commander’s house] here.

In reply to a question about the suspension of operations of the judicial commission, formed by the federal government to probe the veracity of some audio leaks, he said that a group of judges had taken the issue into their own hands and decided to hear cases against themselves.

Asif claimed that the unfortunate incidents of May 9 were part of a planned, targeted and organised attempt at insurrection against the state. He alleged that Imran Khan was the main culprit behind the conspiracy. However, he added, all those involved in the conspiracy should be tried under the law. Kh Asif said that on May 9, violent groups deliberately attacked installations, memorials, symbols and residences of an institution in a well-organised manner. He said the public reaction always used to be spontaneous, and all kinds of public or private properties were hit by the enraged people. But on the black day of May 9, only the army’s properties, setups, statues of martyrs, vehicles, buildings and soldiers were targeted.

Khawaja Asif said the situation created a question as to why such a reaction was not witnessed after the so-called assassination attack on Imran Khan. And why such a reaction was shown only when he was merely taken into legal custody, he asked. It showed that the May 9 attacks were planned somewhere else.

Elaborating on the background of the unprecedented reaction, Asif said that after his constitutional removal from the office of the prime minister through a no-confidence motion, Imran Khan had continuously been targeting Pakistan Army and its leadership in his speeches.

The defence minister said it appeared that the people, who had burnt portraits and the piano of Quaid-e-Azam, were not mentally or ideologically Pakistanis, despite having the nationality. The minister said the miscreants intentionally demolished, insulted and destroyed army’s assets and even did not spare Shuhada, who sacrificed their lives for the protection of the nation.

He said that there could be hundreds of differences between the institutions and politicians, but the red line, which was crossed on May 9, was never even thought of in the last 76 years of the national history.

The minister said in the current planned rebellious attempt, no civilian building, including the Governor’s House and the assembly hall, was damaged, and only army installations were targeted in the same pattern in Lahore, Mardan, Chakdara, Peshawar, Gujranwala, Sargodha, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi and other cities. It shows that the miscreants were given predefined targets and they were trained to launch attacks on the defence installations.

The minister said that an attempt was made to convey a message to the world and the enemy that the installations and residences of the Pakistan Army were vulnerable. He said the PTI chairman had crossed all limits now. Legal action would be taken against all culprits involved in the insurrection. To a question about political leaders of the PTI involved in violence, Khawaja Asif said that the majority of people inducted into the PTI were newborn politicians raised in the last 10 to 12 years for the PTI, so they did not feel hesitation in leaving the party.

To another question, he expressed his hope that the establishment would not become part of politics in future, adding that now when they wanted to quit their role in politics, Imran was again trying to instigate them to participate in politics.

He stressed that a new social contract should be signed among all stakeholders. The defence minister claimed that Imran Khan did not condemn the May 9 incidents for 12 days, and when he did so, he did it conditionally.