May 9 riots: Rawalpindi schools to observe 'Black Day' tomorrow

District administration in garrison town directs educational institutes to hold ceremonies

Charged mobs gather in front of the main entrance of General Headquarters during a protest against the arrest of their leader, in Rawalpindi on May 9, 2023. — AFP

  • Rawalpindi district administration notifies "Black Day". 
  • Educational institutes to hold different ceremonies regarding May 9. 
  • School principals directed to maintain discipline during ceremonies.

The schools and other educational institutes across Rawalpindi will observe “Black Day” tomorrow (May 9) to mark the anniversary of the events of violence that took place last year on the same date.

Violent protests and riots broke out across the country, especially in the garrison town, with charged mobs vandalising private and public properties including military installations following Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan’s arrest on May 9, 2023. 

Following the violent protests, the military had declared May 9 as "Black Day".

The Rawalpindi district administration on Wednesday announced the observance of “Black Day” on Thursday with an official notification.

As per the notification, different ceremonies will be organised for students and teachers in all educational institutes to highlight the importance of May 9 as “Black Day”.

“[…] May 9 will be observed solemnly to express our commitment in protecting the high security assets and safe guarding and upholding honour of our proud armed forces," it read.

During the ceremony, teachers will give briefing to the participants and no one will be allowed to exit the assembly hall. Meanwhile, the principal of the institute will be responsible to maintain discipline in the meantime.

On Tuesday, Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (DG ISPR) Major General Ahmed Sharif Chaudhry said that the perpetrators and facilitators of the May 9 riots need to be punished as per the Constitution and law of the land to preserve the credibility and faith in the country’s justice system.

"The issue of May 9 riots is not limited to the Pakistan Army but [in fact] concerns the whole nation," the military's spokesperson said while addressing a press conference in Rawalpindi.

Noting that the public was a witness to the May 9 incident the spokesperson lamented how some people were "brainwashed" against the armed forces and said: "We saw how some political leaders gave selected targets [to the mob]".

"We saw that only military installations were attacked within a span of few hours [and] you saw the public outrage when evidence for this came to limelight.

"The lies and deceit cannot continue [...] the people accused of being involved in May 9 riots need to be punished," said the chief military spokesperson.

The May 9 riots were triggered almost all over the country after the deposed prime minister was arrested from the premises of the Islamabad High Court in a corruption case. 

The clashes and incidents of violence erupted countrywide as the alleged PTI supporters resorted to violence to protest the arrest of the party chief.

During the protests, the miscreants targeted the civil and military installations including — Jinnah House and the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi.

Hundreds of PTI workers and senior leaders were put behind bars for their alleged involvement in violence and attacks on military installations.

Several party bigwigs and senior members parted ways with PTI and Khan in the light of crackdown against those involved in May 9 events.