Karachi, May 26 (PTI) Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday said his government has every right to lawfully punish the individuals responsible for the unprecedented violent incidents on May 9, similar to the actions taken by the US government against its citizens who stormed the Capitol Hill building on January 6, 2021.
Violent protests sparked across the country on May 9 after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan was arrested from the premises of the Islamabad High Court. The government later launched a massive crackdown against the PTI leaders and workers and rounded up thousands of people on charges of attacking civil and military installations.
Addressing the groundbreaking ceremony of a water supply project here, Sharif said the politics of chaos culminated on May 9 in the form of the desecration of the nation’s martyrs and security installations.
Khan's supporters vandalised a dozen military installations, including the Lahore Corps Commander's House, the Mianwali airbase and the ISI building in Faisalabad in response to Khan's arrest.
The mob also stormed the Army headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi for the first time.
Police put the death toll in violent clashes to 10 while Khan's party claims 40 of its workers lost their lives in the firing by security personnel.
"Today, in the city of Quaid, we all are ashamed of what happened on May 9 in Lahore. Justice requires punishing the perpetrators like the rioters of the Capitol building on January 6, 2021. If that punishment was legal, then no one should object if we do so under our law for the desecration of our martyrs," Prime Minister Sharif said.
On January 6, 2021, following the defeat of Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election, a mob of his supporters attacked the United States Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.
The chaos erupted as the US Senate and House of Representatives met to certify Democrat Joe Biden's victory over Trump, a Republican, in the 2020 presidential election.
Meanwhile, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar has defended the federal government’s decision to hold the trial of people involved in attacks on state and army installations under the Pakistan Army Act, 1952, saying that no state can condone incidents of arson and vandalism.
“Is there any state in the world that does not respond to arson and vandalism? Everyone saw the response to the attack on Capitol Hill in America,” she said on Tuesday.
Pakistan's civil and military leaders on May 17 endorsed a decision made a day earlier during a meeting of the Corps Commanders to invoke the stringent Pakistan Army Act, 1952 and the Official Secrets Act, 1923 against people involved in the May 9 riots.
The government has launched a massive crackdown against the PTI leaders and workers and rounded up thousands of people on charges of attacking civil and military installations.
Khar claimed that no country gave her any advice with regard to the trial of arsonists under the Army Act. “All countries were, however, concerned about the rioting in Pakistan,” she added.
Reacting to the political crisis in Pakistan, the US has said that it was monitoring the situation.
"We continue to monitor the situation in Pakistan very closely. We don’t have a position on one political candidate or another inside Pakistan," state department spokesperson Matthew Miller said on Tuesday.
"We call for the respect and equal application of democratic principles, freedom of expression around – and rule of law around the world, and of course in Pakistan we urge that these principles be respected for all people," he said.