On Wednesday, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif of Pakistan expressed his condemnation for the violent protests carried out by the followers of former Prime Minister Imran Khan following his arrest in a corruption case. He also issued a stern warning, emphasizing his intention to handle the demonstrators firmly.
After the recent outbreak of violent clashes resulting in the loss of lives and attacks on military and state properties, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif addressed the nation in a concise manner.
The Pakistan Prime Minister categorically stated that any assault on public property constitutes an act of terrorism and displays enmity towards the country. He firmly declared that individuals taking the law into their own hands would face severe consequences and receive exemplary punishment.
Highlighting the paramount importance of safeguarding the state and the ideology of Pakistan, the premier emphasized that these values are more precious than individual lives. He expressed a resolute determination to counteract any conspiracies against the nation and vowed to thwart the nefarious designs of its enemies.
Accusing Imran Khan and his party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), of causing substantial damage to critical installations within the country, Mr. Sharif deplored the unprecedented scenes of violence witnessed over the past 75 years. He lamented the endangerment of numerous lives, including the burning of ambulances and the torching of the Swat motorway. The Prime Minister also expressed deep concern over the attacks on armed forces installations, comparing them to actions carried out by the enemy.
Mr. Sharif further alleged that during Imran Khan’s tenure as the country’s leader, the families and relatives of political opponents were not spared. He claimed that Khan’s ministers would publicize details of cases against political adversaries, and the former Prime Minister himself would anticipate arrests. The Prime Minister underscored the bitter history of politics in the country, highlighting the lack of forgiveness shown even to the family members of political opponents.
Stressing that vengeful acts in politics have never yielded positive outcomes, Mr. Sharif expressed his belief that such practices are counterproductive. He mentioned the amendment his government made to the old accountability law, reducing the remand period from 90 to 15 days. He argued that under the previous law, securing bail within this timeframe was virtually impossible.
Regarding Imran Khan’s arrest, Mr. Sharif asserted that substantial evidence in the Al-Qadir Trust case involving the PTI chairman was available, but it had been kept hidden from the cabinet. He questioned how a decision pertaining to approximately Rs. 60 billion from the national treasury could be made without the cabinet’s knowledge.
The violent clashes between Imran Khan’s supporters and security forces resulted in at least seven fatalities and nearly 300 injuries across Pakistan. The army was deployed in the capital city of Islamabad, as well as in the provinces of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan to restore law and order.
Imran Khan was apprehended by the paramilitary Rangers on Tuesday, following the orders of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), from the premises of the Islamabad High Court, where he had come to attend a hearing related to a corruption case.
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