Tuesday, May 16, 2023
Amid the ongoing crackdown on Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders and workers after the recent violent riots, the US State Department has said that arrests should be carried out in accordance with the law.
Spokesperson Vedant Patel's statement came as scores of PTI workers and leaders have been arrested over their alleged role in violent protests triggered by party chief Imran Khan’s arrest on May 9 in Al-Qadir Trust case.
During the nearly three-day mayhem, which also left at least 10 people dead and dozens of others injured, the PTI workers damaged public properties and stormed military installations across the country.
During a regular press briefing on Monday, the spokesperson said the US believed in non-violent protests.
He said government employees or public properties should not be damaged during the protests and added that the US position on access to information, and press freedom is clear.
Patel added that the United States does not have a position regarding one political party or leader in Pakistan.
He also reiterated that a strong, stable and prosperous Pakistan is critical to Islamabad-Washington ties.
Last week, the United States and the United Kingdom called for a democratic response to the protests against the arrest of Khan.
"The authorities [in Pakistan] should also respond in accordance with the rights and democratic rules," the US States Department spokesperson said while urging the former premier's supporters to protest peacefully.
Earlier today, the military's top brass vowed to try protesters and their abettors under relevant laws, including the Pakistan Army Act and the Official Secrets Act, after the PTI workers and supporters stormed military installations on May 9, which the army dubbed as "Black Day".
The decision came during a Special Corps Commanders Conference (CCC) held at the General Headquarters with Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir in the chair, according to a statement from the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
"The forum expressed [a] firm resolve that those involved in these heinous crimes against the military installations and personal/ equipment will be brought to justice through trials under relevant laws of Pakistan including Pakistan Army Act and Official Secret Act," the statement mentioned.
The military's top brass also resolved that restraint will no longer be exercised against perpetrators, spoilers, and violators who attack military installations and setups under any circumstances.
Later, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said the decision to try the PTI workers under the Pakistan Army Act was yet to be made after the military warned of bringing the perpetrators to the book.