Pakistan unrest: Amid the massive violent protest in Pakistan, its army, in its first response in the backdrop of soaring anti-military sentiments, lambasted former Prime Minister Imran Khan and said he has a serious “lust for power”.
Calling Khan’s PTI-led anti-army rants “an example of hypocrisy”, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR)– media and PR wing of the Pakistan Armed Forces– said the party supporters were deliberately targetting the military installations in order to regain power.
Notably, the critical statement from Pakistani Army came a day after former PM Khan was arrested in a corruption case. Subsequently, several top leaders of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) called people to march to the streets in order to show their support to the arrested leader.
This triggered widespread violence across the country, wherein the protestors torched army vehicles, air force bases and attacked military personnel.
“We will not allow anyone to take the law into their hands,” Dawn quoted the media’s military wing statement. “On the one hand, these miscreants evoke the nation’s emotions for achieving their limited and selfish objectives and on the other hand, they deceive people, continuing to highlight the army’s importance. This is an example of hypocrisy,” it stated.
Army kept utmost patience
Further, it said that the army showed patience and restraint and exercised extreme tolerance, and added it did not even care about its reputation, in the larger interest of the country.
Calling May 9 incident a “black day”, the military said, “With this situation created under nefarious planning, a heinous attempt was made to make the army give an immediate reaction, which could be used for nefarious political purposes.”
Army warns of strict action
“Any further attack on the army, including all law enforcement agencies, military and state installations and properties will be severely retaliated, the responsibility of which will be on this very group that wants to push Pakistan into a civil war and has expressed it multiple times.
“No one can be allowed to incite people and take the law into their hands,” the army’s media wing added.
What leads to Imran’s arrest
Notably, Khan was wounded by a gunman at a rally in November, an attack that killed one of his supporters and wounded 13. On several occasions, he claimed Army and intelligence officials behind his assassination plot. He even claimed West for the attack.
Recently, he doubled down on an attack on the Pakistani army without offering any evidence, that there is a plot to assassinate him, alleging that Pakistan’s spy agency was behind the conspiracy.
Earlier today, he again issued a video message before heading to Islamabad, saying he was “mentally prepared” for arrest there. However, this did not lead to his arrest. According to govt officials, he was arrested in a corruption case.
Corruption case that leads to Khan’s arrest
Tuesday’s arrest was based on a new warrant from the National Accountability Bureau obtained last week in a separate graft case for which Khan had not obtained bail, making him vulnerable to arrest. He is scheduled to appear before an anti-graft tribunal on Wednesday, officials said.
“Imran Khan has been arrested because he was being sought in a graft case,” Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan told a news conference. He alleged Pakistan’s treasury had lost millions of dollars while Khan was in office due to illegal purchases of lands from a business tycoon.
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