The Inter-Services Public Relations on Wednesday stated that May 9 would be remembered as a "black chapter" in the history of Pakistan, citing protests “targeting army property and installations” after PTI chief Imran Khan's arrest in the Al-Qadir Trust corruption case.
“We will not allow anyone to take the law into their hands,” it said in a statement.
The military media wing stated that Imran Khan was arrested in the Islamabad High Court “in line with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) statement and law”.
“Immediately after this arrest, attacks were perpetrated on the army’s properties and installations while anti-army slogans were raised,” it deplored.
Their hypocrisy could be gauged by how they highlighted the Army’s importance after raising public sentiment for their vested interests, it stated. This group “wearing a political cloak” has done to the country what no one could do in the last seventy-five years, it added.
The Army, “without caring for its integrity”, exercised restraint and demonstrated tolerance adding that a planned attempt had been made to incite the army so that it could be used for political gains later, the statement read.
The ISPR said “We know that there has been instructions, guidelines of some evocative elements of the party leadership behind this". We have identified those involved in these activities and they would be dealt with in accordance with the law. “They will be responsible for what awaits next for them,” it vowed.
The Army would react strongly in response to further attacks on the law-enforcement agencies including the army, their infrastructure, and properties, it stated. “The group, that wants to push the country to civil war, will be responsible for this,” it added.
Violent protests on May 9
Four people died and 27 suffered injuries amid clashes between the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) police and protesters against the arrest of Mr Khan.
Lady Reading Hospital spokesperson Muhammad Asim confirmed that four dead bodies had been brought to the hospital. "The injured have been shot in hands and legs, and they are being given emergency aid," he added.
On the other hand, PTI protesters had also damaged Corps Commander's house in Lahore, attacked others in Peshawar and Quetta, and had staged violent protests outside the General Headquarters (GHQ), Rawalpindi.
Violent protests continued on the second day in several cities across the country. The Islamabad police have arrested 109 PTI activists so far with Sindh police claiming the arrests of 270 people. The protests have been held in major cities such as Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Quetta, with thousands of PTI workers taking part.
Demonstrators have been demanding the release of Imran Khan and many have been carrying banners and placards denouncing the arrest. The protests have led to the imposition of Section 144 in many cities, which prohibits gatherings and political activities. This measure has been put in place to maintain law and order, according to the ministry of interior.
Authorities have warned that legal action will be taken against those who violate Section 144. This includes the use of force if necessary, to disperse protesters who refuse to comply. As per reports, police are conducting raids to arrest PTI workers and supporters.