Saturday, May 20, 2023
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Ghulam Sarwar Khan Saturday backed the authorities' decision to try May 9 vandals under the Pakistan Army Act and the Official Secrets Act.
"Whatever the authorities decide [...] if the trial can be conducted legally under the army act, then it should take place," he told Geo News' Shahzad Iqbal when asked if the suspects should be tried under those laws.
"They [the perpetrators] should be punished," he said about the protesters who smashed and burned military installations after PTI Chairman Imran Khan was arrested in a corruption case on May 9.
"I strongly condemn the attacks that occurred in response to the arrest of PTI chief Imran Khan, particularly the acts of vandalism targeting the State's properties and the assaults on the Pakistan Army's buildings," he stated. He proposed the establishment of a judicial commission, ideally at the Supreme Court level, but alternatively at least at the high court level, to conduct a thorough inquiry into the violent events of May 9.
When asked about the legitimacy of the PTI's decision to collectively abandon the National Assembly and dissolve the provincial assemblies of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, the former PTI minister responded by describing it as a politically flawless strategic move in line with the party's plan. He emphasised that despite the Supreme Court ruling, the execution of the plan was hindered, resulting in a blatant violation of the Constitution of Pakistan.
The military called May 9 "Black Day" and has decided to try the protesters under the army act, with Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir saying that the legal process in this regard has already begun.
The former federal minister, during whose stint Pakistan's aviation sector suffered a setback as he claimed that several pilots were operating without licenses, condemned the attacks and said there was a need to hold a probe into the events.
With several party leaders jumping ship after the events, Sarwar said he had no plans of parting ways with PTI.
"There is no truth [to the reports about me leaving the party]. Tehreek-e-Insaf is my second home," the former aviation minister said.
"I am not in the party on rent. I own this house. I am not going nowhere," he added.
High-profile leaders who have quit the PTI in recent days include Member of the National Assembly Mahmood Baqi Maulvi, Sindh Assembly members Karim Bux Gabol and Sanjay Gangwani, former provincial minister Dr Hisham Inamullah, former federal minister Aamir Kiyani and former climate change adviser Malik Amin Aslam.
The announcements came amid a mass crackdown on the party following the violent protests. Meanwhile, PTI chief Khan has distanced the party from the attacks and called for an independent investigation.