Saturday, May 13, 2023
LAHORE: After visiting the Corps Commander House in Lahore that was ransacked by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) protesters, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif directed the Punjab government to move swiftly and arrest the vandals within 72 hours.
"I have given law enforcement apparatus a target of 72 hours to arrest all those involved in facilitating, abetting and perpetrating the disgraceful incidents of arson, ransacking, sabotage & damaging public & private properties,” the PM said after chairing a meeting at the Punjab Safe City Authority Headquarters in Lahore.
He said that all available resources including technological aid and intelligence are being deployed to chase down these elements.
"Bringing these people to justice is a test case for the government. Their cases will be tried by the anti-terrorism courts," he said, adding that such kind of terrorism is unacceptable.
Lamenting the May 9 violence triggered by PTI Chairman Imran Khan's arrest, PM Shehbaz said the Jinnah House has been burnt down completely on which the whole nation is in grief.
“Terrible events in the history of Pakistan took place on May 9. Corps Commander House is the historic Jinnah House and seeing it [in such a condition] is disheartening,” said the PM.
Slamming his predecessor Imran Khan, the PM said that the former prime minister and his “mob” are not less than anti-Pakistan elements.
“Those involved in terrorist activities should be convicted as per the law,” said the PM. He assured that the law will deal with the miscreants with an “iron hand”.
“What the enemies could not do in 75 years, the PTI miscreants were able to do it. Government property was damaged under a plan,” said the PM.
The premier also regretted that the martyr’s memorial was also damaged and called for the trial to be held against the miscreants in anti-terrorism courts.
“If anti-terrorism courts have to be opened at night to punish the criminals, then they should be opened,” urged the PM and directed the police and the administration to immediately arrest the miscreants as the “whole situation is unacceptable”.
The premier in the meeting also directed Law Minister Azam Nazir Tarar to increase the number of anti-terrorism courts.
Earlier, PM Shehbaz, along with interim Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi, visited the vandalised Lahore Corps Commander House where he extended solidarity with the country's military leadership. He later also paid a visit to the Services Hospital to meet with the injured personnel.
The CM and PM also met Deputy Inspector-General of Police Ali Nasir Rizvi at the Services Hospital, where he had his eye operated on, which was hit during angry PTI supporters' protests.
After the PTI chief Imran Khan was taken into custody on Tuesday, protestors barged into the Jinnah House, which is the residence of Lahore corps commander, demanding the release of their leader.
Reacting to the vandalism by protestors, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said May 9 — the day when chaos gripped the nation — would go down in history as a "dark chapter".
“Soon after [Khan’s arrest], there were organised attacks on army properties and installations and anti-army slogans were raised,” the military’s media wing said.
The PTI, however, denied involvement in the violence that ensued terming ISPR statement “against ground realities”.
"We believe in achieving our goals by remaining peaceful, non-violent, and adhering to the Constitution and law. PTI has always discouraged deviance from the Constitution and law," a statement released by the party read.