ISLAMABAD: Minister for Interior Rana Sanaullah, shedding light on the May 9 violent protests and providing key statistics regarding the ensuing investigations and arrests, on Friday revealed that a total of 499 first information reports (FIRs) were registered in connection with the incidents, and out of those, only six or seven cases would be tried in military courts.
Addressing a press conference, he said that the trial of 33 individuals involved in the May 9 mayhem had been shifted to the military courts. They were involved in attacking army installations during the protests that followed the arrest of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, he added.
The minister informed that of the 33 individuals, 19 belonged to Punjab, while the remaining 14 were from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), the official news agency reported.
Addressing the concerns raised about the enforcement of the Military Act on civilians, he clarified that military would investigate the cases but not take cognizance of them. He said that they would determine whether the Army Act or the Official Secrets Act applied in each situation.
He said the Official Secrets Act and the Military Act were applicable to the violation of every defence and military location.
He questioned how and why the attack on Jinnah House, which was not just residence of military officials but a camp office of the Corps Commander and housed highly sensitive information and data, should be considered a political protest, adding it was the matter of national defence.
He said the matter came within the jurisdiction of the Military Act, which was enforced in 1952, as the miscreants took important items such as laptops that might contain sensitive data, and there were chances that this data and information might get into the hands of the county’s enemies.
The minister said over 5,000 individuals were apprehended, with approximately 80 percent of them already released on bail.
He added that out of the total arrests, 3,944 were made under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), while 88 cases were specifically registered under the same act.
The minister said that Imran Khan had been engaged in divisive politics and spreading false narratives for last many years.
Sanaullah said that toxic politics had infiltrated Pakistani society and was spreading its detrimental effects like an infectious virus.
He noted that this divisive political strategy had been facilitated both internally and externally, with the intention of sowing seeds of hatred and cynicism among the people.
The minister said that contrary to the PTI chief’s claims, the public has never supported his toxic politics, as witnessed from the scarce number of participants in his political gathering.
Only a group of trained terrorists, who had been given special training at Zaman Park for launching attacks on state institutions and military instalments, were with Imran Khan throughout the period, he added.
He also ruled out the possibility of PTI leaders quitting the party under pressure by questioning that if they were being pressurised to leave the party, why they were telling all the facts about the May 9 incidents.
Sanaullah said: “If they are quitting because of the hot conditions in the jail, what should we do? When we were in jails, the condition was the same; if they cannot bear, it is not our fault. When I was in the jail, I was not allowed to visit hospital. We faced more difficulties than these people.”
He said the PTI leaders left the party voluntarily just because they never supported the toxic politics of Imran Khan, which always aimed at creating chaos and anarchy in the country.
“Majority of the PTI leaders were not supporting the Imran Khan’s political approach that aims at creating unrest and chaos. In fact, Imran has built a cult, and tried to take over the country with the help of them but failed,” he added.
The minister also clarified that no innocent people would be grilled during the crackdown against miscreants who wreaked havoc on May 9, and that the sanctity of one’s private life would not be violated at any cost.
He said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had given clear and strict direction in that regard.
Sanaullah expressed a resolute stance that the assemblies would complete their tenure, adding that a caretaker setup would be established, and elections for all assemblies would be held simultaneously across the country on time.