- Caretaker Information Minister says 30 to 40 'terrorists' involved in 'May 9 mayhem' have taken refuge in former PM's residence
Punjab caretaker Information Minister Amir Mir on Wednesday gave a 24-hour deadline to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to “hand over terrorists seeking refuge in Zaman Park”.
In a press conference, he stated that 30 to 40 “terrorists” who participated in the “May 9 mayhem” following PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s arrest have been given safe refuge in the former prime minister’s Zaman Park residence.
According to him, perpetrators of the attack on Lahore’s Corps Commander were among people hiding at Zaman Park.
“PTI is requested to hand over these terrorists to Punjab Police. The Punjab interim government is giving the PTI leadership 24 hours,” Mir said.
“PTI is acting like an anti-state party and its Chairman Imran Khan has been targeting the military for more than a year,” he added.
He said that violent events that followed Imran’s arrest last week were planned beforehand and Punjab caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi “has given a free hand to police to capture the arsonists” .
The minister stressed that the government of Punjab had adopted a “zero tolerance policy” for planners, facilitators and perpetrators of violence.
“The federal government, military leadership and Punjab government have decided to punish the attackers,” he said.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that “perpetrators, planners and facilitators” of May 9 violence should not be spared at any cost.
In his televised address after chairing the meeting of the National Security Committee, he underlined that “even the prime minister of Pakistan should not be allowed to pardon the culprits.”
He regretted that the culprits destroyed and burned the Jinnah House (Corps Commander House) in Lahore.
“Jinnah house is sacred and it was destroyed during the wave of violence,” said PM Shehbaz.
“The perpetrators, planners, and facilitators of the attack fall under the label of terrorism,” the PM said.
Following Imran’s arrest, protests erupted throughout Pakistan that transformed into violence.
Nearly 2,000 people were arrested and at least eight were killed.
Hundreds of protesters blocked highways and main entry, and exit routes to all major cities, attacking and burning state buildings, police, and public vehicles and rampaging through army installations.
The protests dampened on May 11 after the Supreme Court of Pakistan ordered Imran’s release.