Pakistan Army calls on judiciary to punish culprits behind 2023 riots and violence

Rawalpindi, May 30 (IANS) Terming it as pivotal for the “collective good” of the country, Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir on Thursday re-emphasised the significance of bringing to justice the culprits behind the violent attacks on military installations on May 9, 2023.

Munir’s remarks came at the 83rd Formation Commanders Conference, held at the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi which was also attended by Corps Commanders, Principal Staff Officers and all Formation Commanders of Pakistan Army.

The Inter-Service Public Relations (ISPR) said that the forum emphasised on the transparent dispensation of justice in last year’s riots and vandalism case.

“The forum noted that planners, perpetrators, abettors, and facilitators of May 9 violence need to be brought to justice for the collective good of the country, and that without swift and transparent dispensation of justice to the culprits and establishing the rule of law, stability in the country will ever remain hostage to the machinations of such elements,” read the ISPR statement released to media.

The forum also took serious note of what it termed as “politically motivated and vested digital terrorism”, which it maintained was unleashed by conspirators working on the agenda of foreign forces.

“The forum underscored that politically motivated and vested digital terrorism, unleashed by conspirators duly abetted by their foreign cohorts, against State institutions, is clearly meant to try to induce despondency in the Pakistani nation, to sow discord among national institutions, especially the Armed Forces, and the people of Pakistan by peddling blatant lies, fake news, and propaganda,” said ISPR.

“However, the nation is fully cognizant of their ugly and ulterior motives and surely the designs of these nefarious forces will be comprehensively defeated,” ISPR added.

The latest statement from the Pakistan Army Formation Commanders’ Conference has yet again indicated that there remains no possibility of any backdoor talks or engagement with former Prime Minister Imran Khan.

On May 9 last year, after the arrest of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan from the Islamabad High Court, supporters of the party and its top leaders stormed important military installations to express their anger against the military establishment.

The violent protests resulted in targeted mob attacks on major military installations across Pakistan, including the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi.

After the riots, PTI was brutally dismantled with thousands of its workers arrested through raids and Imran Khan pushed against the prison walls with tonnes of cases. A complete blackout on political activities of the PTI was imposed before the February general elections.

“It’s clear that the army is not ready to forgive Imran Khan and his party for what they did on May 9. PTI and Imran Khan have been trying hard for talks but it seems that the army is in no mood to forgive them. They want to punish them severely for what happened last year,” said senior political analyst Adnan Shaukat.

“We also know that PTI is far ahead of everyone in its use of social media to campaign its narrative. Be it an anti-military establishment or pro-Imran Khan, PTI’s social media certainly has been very active. PTI supporters and its official pages have criticised the military establishment openly. That is why the Formation Commanders Conference has termed politically-motivated campaigning by PTI as digital terrorism, which may turn into a major challenge for Imran Khan and PTI in the coming days,” he added.

The forum also expressed “serious concerns” over continued cross-border violations from Afghanistan and terrorism being orchestrated using Afghan soil.

“Pakistan’s adversaries were using Afghanistan to target the security forces and innocent civilians inside Pakistan,” ISPR’s statement read.

The forum stated that foreign-sponsored proxies working to spread externally propagated narratives of exclusion are being exploited to lead Balochistan’s youth away from peace and progress.



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