South Asia

Pakistan Army Brass Indicates 'Noose of Law' Will Be Tightened Around Imran Khan

A statement by the Pakistan Army's media wing said that the brass has decided that the "noose of law" should be tightened around the "planners and masterminds" of the protests on May 9 in which military structures were attacked.

New Delhi: The Pakistan Army’s top brass on Wednesday, June 7, indicated that Imran Khan would soon be tried for the attacks on military installations on May 9, saying that the “noose of law” should be tightened around the “planners and masterminds” of the protests.

The statement, issued by the Army’s media wing ISPR, was released after the Pakistan Army Chief General Syed Asim Munir presided over the 81st Formation Commanders Conference in Rawalpindi. The meet was attended by Corps Commanders, Principal Staff Officers and all Formation Commanders of the Pakistan Army.

According to Dawn, the Formation Commanders’ Conference is one of the military’s “larger forums, which usually meets annually for discussion on strategy, operational and training matters, besides deliberating on organisational issues”.

While the statement did not mention Khan by name, the Pakistan Army has held the former prime minister responsible for the attacks. The day after the attacks, it said that the PTI has done what “enemies could not do in 75 years”, all “in the lust for power”.

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“It has been further stressed that, while the legal trials of perpetrators and instigators have commenced, it is time that the noose of law is also tightened around the planners and masterminds who mounted the hate-ripened and politically driven rebellion against the state and state institutions to achieve their nefarious design of creating chaos in the country,” the statement said.

The top commanders condemned the May 9 attacks – calling it a “Black Day” – and reiterated their “firm resolve” that the desecrators of martyrs’ monuments, the Jinnah House and attackers of military installations would “certainly be brought to justice speedily under the Pakistan Army Act and Official Secret Act which are the derivatives of the Constitution of Pakistan”.

“In this regard, efforts to create distortions and attempts to take refuge behind imaginary and mirage Human Rights Violations to create smoke screen for hiding the ugly faces of all involved, are absolutely futile and do not stand the abundantly collected irrefutable evidences,” the commanders said. Rights bodies have condemned Pakistan’s plans to try civilians under military laws, but the Army has nevertheless proceeded to do so.

The statement also stressed that “endeavours by any quarter to create obstructions and stymie the conclusive defeat of ill design of inimical forces will be dealt with iron hands” – a veiled threat to Pakistan’s higher judiciary, which provided relief to Khan.

The protests on May 9 erupted after Khan was arrested in a graft case. The former Pakistan prime minister was granted bail, but has found himself in a quagmire because of his supporters targeting military and government infrastructure. The government and military have come down hard on those involved in the protests. Several top leaders have deserted his party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

Khan maintains that the attacks on military establishments were a false flag operation designed to ban his party and put him behind bars. The cricketer-turned-politician’s government fell last year after losing a trust vote, but he retains mass appeal. While Khan was groomed by the Pakistan Army for its “hybrid regime” experiment, he has proven to be a challenge to the “establishment” since he lost power.

Meanwhile, the former Pakistan PM was on Wednesday accused of masterminding the murder of a Supreme Court lawyer in Quetta. According to Dawn, lawyer Abdul Razzaq Shar’s son has registered a case against Khan, alleging that his father was killed at the PTI chief’s behest.

Shar was killed in a drive-by shooting near Alamo Chowk on Airport Road on Tuesday when he was on his way to the Balochistan high court. The government and the PTI “traded blame over the incident”, as per Dawn.