Islamabad | The Pakistan Army's top brass has vowed to bring to justice the "spoilers" involved in the recent attacks on military installations, including the storming of its General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, through trials, including stringent the Pakistan Army Act and the Official Secret Act.
Former prime minister Imran Khan's arrest by the Rangers at the Islamabad High Court premises last Tuesday triggered unrest in Pakistan that continued till Friday and led to several deaths and dozens of military and state installations being destroyed by the protesters.
For the first time in the country's history, Khan's supporters stormed the Army headquarters in Rawalpindi and torched the historic Corps Commander's House in Lahore in retaliation to his dramatic arrest.
The Pakistan Army's move to include the tough Army Act and the Official Secrets Act is a serious provision in which Khan and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) supporters could be slapped with charges that can lead to either a death sentence or life imprisonment.
A Special Corps Commanders Conference, chaired by Army chief General Asim Munir at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, also resolved that restraint will no longer be exercised against perpetrators who attack military installations, according to a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) -- the media wing of the Pakistan Army on Monday.
The participants of the Special Corps Commanders Conference condemned the politically motivated and instigated incidents against military installations and public and private properties, the statement said.
"Based on the irrefutable evidence collected so far, Armed Forces are well aware of the planners, instigators, abettors, and perpetrators of these attacks, and attempts to create distortions in this regard are absolutely futile,” the statement said.
The "forum expressed the firm resolve that those involved in these heinous crimes against the military installations and personal/equipment will be brought to justice through trials under relevant laws of Pakistan including Pakistan Army Act and Official Secret Act," it added.
The meeting decided that "restraint will no longer be exercised against perpetrators, spoilers, and violators who attack military installations and setups under any circumstances." The meeting emphasised the need for national consensus amongst all stakeholders to address ongoing political instability as a priority to restore public confidence, reinvigorate economic activity and strengthen the democratic process.
The military commanders also resolved to support all such efforts to reach this much-needed consensus.
Meanwhile, in response to the Pakistan Army's statement, PTI tweeted that as a "responsible & the largest political institution in the federation of Pakistan, PTI has an unwavering commitment to the constitution & democracy." The opposition party said it believes that the "Constitution is a beacon of light for all of us at the individual as well as collective levels and solutions to the most intricate problems lie within the ambit of Constitution and bounds of laws,” it said.
"Peaceful protest after Chairman PTI's illegal abduction through paramilitary troops of Rangers from within the premises of Islamabad High Court on May 9, was a natural & foreseeable reaction guaranteed by the constitution as a basic right to peaceful protest to the public," a statement issued by the Central Media Department of Khan's party said.
The statement also claimed that "a plethora of irrefutable evidence is available to establish that armed miscreants had been entered into the peaceful gatherings, who had indulged into arson and firing live bullets on the peaceful protestors leaving dozens killed and hundreds injured." The statement also underlined that it is critical that the right to decision-making should be routed back to the people of Pakistan through instantly held "free, fair & credible elections" so that the future of the nation is anchored upon harmony instead of lasting confrontation.