Jinnah House vandalism: PM wants arrest of culprits, planners in 72 hours

Jinnah House vandalism: PM wants arrest of culprits, planners in 72 hours

Lahore (Web Desk/Agencies): Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday directed the relevant authorities to immediately arrest all those elements who were involved in different abhorrent and unpardonable incidents of vandalism, attacks and arson of May 9, inflicting massive damages to public and private properties across Punjab province.

Addressing a meeting during his visit to Punjab Safe Cities Authority, the premier minister set a deadline of 72 hours for the law enforcement agencies to arrest all those people involved in setting on fire different buildings and infrastructure including the historic Jinnah (Corps commander) house.

PM Shehbaz said the whole nation was in utter state of grief over such painful incidents except Imran Niazi and his armed followers who had acted not less than the enemies of Pakistan as no Pakistani could ever think of such action or planning.

"These people should be arrested and made to face the law in accordance with the relevant legal and the constitutional provisions," he said.

He also desired enhancement of number of anti-terrorism courts in the province where the legal proceedings against all these culprits should commence swiftly.

PM Shehhaz further maintained that during a meeting in Islamabad the other day, he had already issued clear directives that all those people who were involved, planned, abetted and facilitated the terrible attacks across the country should be dealt with iron hand.

They would have to stand trials in the anti-terrorism courts and he had already instructed the law minister to increase number of the these courts, he added.

"It is time to do or die or now or never. The real culprits who showed this kind of enmity against the motherland should be arrested and produced in anti-terrorism courts under the relevant laws. These elements should be arrested immediately, without fear or favour," PM Shehbaz said.

The prime minister said on May 9, terrible incidents occurred in the history of Pakistan. The Corps Commander (Jinnah House) was completely destroyed which was a painful sight.

During the 75 years of country’s history, the enemy could not inflict such harm nor accomplish its evil dreams, but unfortunately, on May 9, under Imran Niazi’s supervision, planning and instigation his armed groups set Jinnah House on fire reducing it to ashes, besides harming the historic articles there.

"Alas, as a Pakistani, I would not have lived to watch such a dreadful day," he regretted, adding the people who were indulged in this abhorrent act, would be made to face criminal proceedings.

PM Shehbaz said that those who made plans and armed their rioters with weapons and batons to attack the law enforcement personnel and buildings would be dealt with iron hand, ‘so that they could become a permanent example for all that those who might act against Pakistan.’

The prime minister observed that the armed forces and the law enforcement personnel had been ever ready to sacrifice their lives to foil designs of the enemies, whether it was 65 war or in the fight against terrorism in which about 80,000 Pakistani lost their lives, including the armed forces officers, personnel, police, paramilitary forces and every member of society had sacrificed which led to crush the scourge of terrorism.

“They have protected the motherland with their blood while leaving behind their bereaved families,” he said, adding the PTI rioters also defiled the shuhada and attacked their monuments.

PM Shehbaz said  that such were the heart wrenching scenes and had not been witnessed in the past history, He said that those armed groups should be made an example so that no one could dare to cast an evil eye on these institutions.

Earlier, PM Shehbaz, along with interim Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi, visited the vandalised Lahore Corps Commander House where he extended solidarity with the country's military leadership. He later also paid a visit to the Services Hospital to meet with the injured personnel.

The premier and the Punjab CM also met Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police Ali Nasir Rizvi at the Services Hospital, where he had his eye operated on, which was hit during angry PTI supporters' protests.

Meanwhile, the Punjab government decided to constitute a joint investigation team (JIT) to probe riots and vandalism incidents that took place in the province following the arrest of PTI chief Imran Khan.

On May 9, protests erupted in major cities across the country after Imran Khan's arrest from the premises of the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

The protests soon turned violent, with military installations and government offices, such as those of Radio Pakistan and Associated Press of Pakistan, being set on fire in Peshawar.

On May 11, the Supreme Court (SC) declared the PTI chief’s arrest “invalid and unlawful” and on May 12, the IHC granted him bail, barring police from arresting him in any case till May 15.