RAWALPINDI — The spokesperson for the Pakistan Army on Wednesday warned of a strong reaction if any further attacks are carried out on state installations by the people protesting against the arrest of former Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan.
On Tuesday, the paramilitary force Rangers had arrested Khan, chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), on the premises of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) where he had arrived to plead his case for extension in bail in multiple cases registered against him by the PDM government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
After Khan’s arrest, massive protests broke out across the country, with demonstrators gathering outside military cantonments, General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi and offices of the Frontier Crops. Anti-military hashtags also started trending on social media after reports emerged that Rangers physically hit Khan and his lawyers during the arrest.
The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), media affairs wing of the Pakistan Army, said in a press release on Wednesday, “May 9 will be remembered as a black chapter in history.”
The ISPR press release added, “According to the NAB press release, the PTI chairman was arrested at the Islamabad High Court under the law. After this arrest, attacks were orchestrated on the army’s establishments and installations in an organised way and slogans were raised against the army. On the one hand, these mischievous elements stoke the public sentiments to the fullest to achieve their narrow and selfish goals and on the other they keep highlighting the importance of the army for the country, which is an example of hypocrisy.”
The ISPR said, “This group wearing a political cloak” has done what enemies could not do in 75 years, all “in the lust for power”. It added, “The army showed patience and restraint and exercised extreme tolerance, not even caring about its reputation, in the larger interest of the country.”
“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.
The ISPR press release said, “The Army’s mature response thwarted this conspiracy. We are well aware that behind it were orders, directives and complete pre-planning by some sinister party leadership.”
The ISPR said that facilitators, planners and political activists involved in the protests had been identified, asserting that strict action would be taken against them “as per the law and all these evil elements will now be responsible for the consequences”.
“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 this multiple times.
“No one can be allowed to incite people and take the law into their hands,” the ISPR said.