SIALKOT - Defence Minister Kh Asif has said that none of those accused of involvement in the May 9 riots will be deprived of their basic rights and made it clear that no new military courts are being established to try their cases.
“No new military courts are being established. Law is present (for this purpose) already. Courts are present and they have been continuously working for the past 75 years,” the minister explained this while talking to media during a rally arranged in the city on Sunday to express solidarity with the Armed Forces in connection with the May 9 violent protests allegedly by the PTI leaders and workers across the country against the arrest of PTI chief Imran Khan in a corruption case. The protestors also targeted targeting sensitive state and military installations. The government has since pursued an aggressive crackdown against the party leadership and others alleged of being involved in the vandalism and causing public unrest. The ruling coalition has also said that protestors will be tried under the Army Act at military courts. The defence minister maintained that the government will not target the innocent and that cases will be pursued only against those identified in video footages of the attacks on the sensitive installations. Terming the May 9 protests as an attack on the “integrity and existence of Pakistan”, the minister strongly condemned the acts of “terrorism”. He hailed the security forces of Pakistan, including police and rangers, for their “unrelentless” efforts in countering terrorism. Urging the nation to stand in unity, he said that people were well aware of the forces in play that were trying to polarise the masses and sowing seeds of bitterness. He also said that the attackers can never be patriots, stressing that he saw no difference between Indian attacks and the violent mob’s attack on Corps Commander House (Jinnah House) and Mianwali Air Base.