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Thursday June 20, 2024

Why no decision on May 9 cases so far, asks govt

Atta Tarar said May-9 would be remembered as a black day in the history of Pakistan

By Asim Yasin & Mumtaz Alvi & News Agencies & News Desk
May 09, 2024
PTI activists and supporters of former prime minister Imran Khan, clash with police during a protest against the arrest of their leader in Peshawar on May 10, 2023. — AFP
PTI activists and supporters of former prime minister Imran Khan, clash with police during a protest against the arrest of their leader in Peshawar on May 10, 2023. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Attaullah Tarar has said irrefutable evidence is available against perpetrators of May-9 incidents, but it is regrettable that cases against them have not been decided so far.

Addressing a news conference here on Wednesday, he said that despite passage of one year, neither challans were presented in courts nor punishments were awarded to the culprits. However, he warned, the nation would neither forget the perpetrators of May-9 nor allow repetition of such criminal acts against the country.

Atta Tarar said May-9 would be remembered as a black day in the history of Pakistan when a chaos-prone political gang hatched a conspiracy, and attacked Pakistan’s integrity, security and development. He said the courts should expedite cases against the culprits, who did not hesitate to desecrate martyrs’ monuments and targeted state institutions and buildings of national pride including the Jinnah House Lahore.

Tarar urged the youth to be aware of the elements which were hell bent on creating uncertainty and chaos to hinder Pakistan’s development and progress. He also played video clips of the PTI leaders provoking protesters to assault the military installations and monuments of martyrs.

Attaullah Tarar said a special meeting of the federal cabinet would be held on Thursday (today) with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in the chair. He said leaders of various political parties including PPP, Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party, National Party, PMLQ and Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan would attend the meeting.

Also PM Shehbaz Sharif would address a special even in connection with May-9 incidents at the Convention Centre Islamabad on Thursday (today).

According to official sources, the special meeting of the federal cabinet would be held at parliament house on Thursday (today) and declare May-9 as a black day. The meeting would express solidarity with the martyrs in the meeting. The PM would give special message about the May-9 incidents from the federal cabinet forum.

The Punjab and Balochistan assemblies have also been summoned on May 9 to condemn the incidents.

Sources said condemnatory resolutions on May-9 incidents would be tabled in the Punjab and Balochistan assemblies.

PM Shehbaz Sharif said in a statement on Wednesday that May 9 was not just a ‘black day’ in country’s history but also a day of separating two thoughts -- one which sacrificed politics for the sake of state, and the second which provoked attacks on state to serve political interests.

“On the one hand, there are great sons of soil, who shed their blood for the country; their great family members and patriotic Pakistanis, and others who have been burning in fire of hatred, having no pain for interests of the state,” the PM said in his message on ‘X’.

Shehbaz said they are the elements who have no regard for national monuments and state institutions and no respect for Constitution and law. He said that one year passed since May 9, 2023, but Pakistan and its nation have neither forgotten their criminals, neither they would do so. “We make a pledge to the nation, country, great martyrs and their heirs that there would be no May 9 anymore,” he maintained, adding that the country and the nation would move forward to give coming generations a bright future.

Separately, President Asif Zardari said on Wednesday May 9, 2023, would always be remembered as a dark day in Pakistan’s history when a politically instigated mob ran amok across the country, damaging public property and military installations. He emphasised that those responsible for the violence on May 9 should be held accountable according to the law. The president regretted that the unfortunate incidents severely tarnished the country’s image, serving the interests of Pakistan’s enemies.

According to a statement issued by the media cell of the President House, President Zardari described the mob attacks as an attempt to challenge the writ of the state, undermine the rule of law, and weaken the institutions. He said peaceful demonstrations and constructive criticism were the essences of democracy, emphasising that Pakistan’s Constitution enshrined the fundamental rights of assembly and expression.

Nonetheless, he stressed the vital importance of exercising these rights with the utmost responsibility, strictly adhering to the bounds of constitutional and legal provisions.

“We have never witnessed such vandalism in responsible democracies, with violent mobs wreaking havoc on state properties for political gains,” he remarked. He reiterated that those responsible for the violence on May 9 should be held accountable according to the law.

President Zardari observed that Pakistan faced numerous challenges, and such irresponsible acts by political forces not only hindered the progress achieved as a nation but further exacerbated socio-economic challenges. “The current political situation demands that all political parties work towards promoting tolerance, democratic values, and political dialogue, providing clear direction to the nation,” he said.

The president urged political parties, parliament, media, and civil society to strengthen democracy by upholding the rule of law and fostering a culture of tolerance, political dialogue, and inclusivity.

He also regretted and condemned the malicious social media campaign against state institutions, saying that a mechanism should be developed to check and counter such disinformation campaigns.

President Zardari highlighted the need to harness the potential of Pakistan’s youth for the country’s benefit rather than incite them against state institutions.

Separately, Senate Chairman Yusuf Raza Gilani Wednesday termed May-9 a black day in the history of Pakistan, and strongly condemned the incidents, vandalism and attacks on important sensitive installations including Jinnah House Lahore. He said in a statement issued here that there was no scope for such incidents in civilised societies: The whole nation witnessed these shocking incidents and strongly condemned it.

The Senate chairman appealed to all political forces to move forward, contribute to efforts to overcome the challenges being faced by Pakistan country.

Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq said that May-9 would always be remembered as the darkest day in the history of Pakistan when the very foundations of the country were attacked by miscreant elements.

“Every patriotic Pakistani has categorically denounced the conspiracy to create a wedge between the nation and its armed forces,” he said in a statement.

He said every Pakistani would continue to safeguard the integrity and respect of martyrs, who had rendered their lives for the honour and integrity of the motherland. He demanded exemplary punishment to the perpetrators and executors of May-9 riots.

He said people and Parliament of Pakistan stood shoulder to shoulder with its security forces especially in the war against terrorism.

PPP Chairman Bilawal-Bhutto Zardari also demanded accountability for May-9 attacks and advocated for a judicial probe into the incidents.

“The PPP supports the demand for a judicial inquiry, overseen by the chief justice, for investigating the events of May 9. However, for the purpose, all parties, including the PTI, must commit to accept whatever decision the judicial commission arrives at,” he said.

He said the instigator behind the strongly condemnable events of May 9 was well-known to everyone.

PTI founding chairman Imran Khan has turned down the military’s demand to apologise for the May 9 events and distanced his party from the violent protests that broke out in the country last year soon after his arrest.

“Why should I tender apology, it should be sought from me,” the deposed prime minister said during an informal conversation with journalists in Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail on Wednesday.

In interaction with media, the PTI founder distanced his party from the violent protests, saying that the party never resorted to violence in its history of 27 years.

He further said that he only came to know about the May 9 riots when he was presented before then-chief justice Umar Ata Bandial in the Supreme Court.

“I condemned the May 9 incidents in front of [former] chief justice Umar Ata Bandial,” he added.

Referring to the DG ISPR statement linking dialogue with the apology, the ousted premier said: “If you don’t want to talk, then don’t, I am asking for holding dialogues for the sake of Pakistan.”

Khan said neither he was interested in striking any “deal” nor wanted to go abroad and flee the country.

He also referred to the Capitol riots in the United States in 2021, saying that suspects involved in the Capitol attack were sentenced after being identified through CCTV footage.

“While here [in Pakistan] the CCTV footage disappeared,” he said pointing towards the investigation into the May 9 violence.

Khan also backed DG ISPR Maj Gen Chaudhry’s call to hold the judicial inquiry into the 2014 sit-in staged by the PTI against the alleged rigging in the 2013 general elections.

“I am ready for inquiry into the 2014 sit-in. I will be happy to appear before an inquiry committee. All allegations against me related to the 2014 sit-in are false,” he added.

“The army is ours and we have no problem with the army,” the PTI founder said in the same interaction. “For God’s sake, do not drag the military into politics.”