‘Supports army’s demand to punish those involved in May 9 violence’, says Imran

Hundreds of supporters of Khan had attacked military installations on the day of violent protests against his arrest in a case of alleged corruption.

Islamabad: In an apparent bid to mend fences with the powerful military, Pakistan’s jailed former premier Imran Khan on Wednesday said that he supported the army’s demand to punish those involved in the violence on May 9 last year.

Hundreds of supporters of Khan had attacked military installations on the day of violent protests against his arrest in a case of alleged corruption.

After the Corps Commanders Conference held in GHQ Rawalpindi on Tuesday, the Pakistan Army in a statement quoted the military top brass as saying that those responsible for attacks on security and civil institutions should be punished.

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“The forum committed that the planners, instigators, abettors and perpetrators and desecrators of martyrs’ monuments and attackers of military installations on 9 May, would certainly be brought to justice under the relevant provisions of the law and Constitution,” the army said.

Khan, talking to journalists on the occasion of the hearing of the Al-Qadir Trust corruption case in Adiala Jail Rawalpindi, said that he supported the statement issued by the army after the Corps Commander Conference.

“We support the declaration and want those involved in the violent incidents of May 9 to be severely punished,” he said.

He said that the persons involved in the incident should be identified through CCTV footage, adding that the people involved in the attack on Capitol Hill in America were also arrested with the help of CCTV videos.

Khan also reportedly said that “no one in our party is against the army”. He asked how criticism of elections can be criticism of the army, and added that the narrative of May 9 failed on February 8 because people failed to believe that “we committed any treason”.

He expressed surprise as to why a judicial commission had not been formed yet on the May 9 violence and also stated that apparently, no one was interested in an independent inquiry into the tragic incidents.

In response to a question, Khan said that democracy was negated by not giving reserved seats to his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party which was unconstitutional. He said that the people of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) were also deprived of the mandate in 1971 due to which the country broke up.

Khan alleged that the current election was the most rigged in the country’s history and blamed the caretaker government and the Election Commission of Pakistan for rigging. He said even those who won were aware of rigging.

He also took a swipe at the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif and accused them of taking a U-turn on their stand to give respect to vote. He said they were not giving respect to “boots”, a reference to the military.

He said that three parties including PNL-N, Pakistan Peoples Party and Mutahidda Qaumi Movement were the main beneficiaries of rigging and that was the reason he refused to make any alliance with them.

Khan was ousted through a vote of no-confidence in April 2022. More than 150 cases have been registered against him since his ouster from power. Khan has also been disqualified from holding any public office for 10 years.

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