NSC confirms military trials for May 9 PTI arsonists

    The National Security Committee (NSC) comprising the top brass of the civilian and military leaderships on Tuesday endorsed the decision of the top military commanders to try supporters of the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) allegedly involved in ransacking the military installations under the Pakistan Army Act and Official Secrets Act.

    Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif chaired the high-powered NSC meeting, which was attended by senior cabinet ministers, all three services chiefs, directors general of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Military Intelligence, Intelligence Bureau, and other relevant officials. While the civil and military leadership promised to bring to justice those behind the violent protests, they stressed the need for dialogue over confrontation to resolve the political differences.

    The meeting was convened to discuss violent protests triggered after the arrest of former prime minister Imran Khan. Protesters ransacked and vandalised military installations, including the Corps Commander’s official residence in Lahore.

    Army Chief General Asim Munir on Monday chaired a special corps commanders conference, which decided to try perpetrators, planners, and executors of such attacks under the Pakistan Army and Official Secrets Act.

    A statement issued by the PM office after the NSC meeting read: “The meeting endorsed the decision to initiate trials against the perpetrators, conspirators, and facilitators under relevant laws including the Pakistan Army Act and the Official Secrets Act, to ensure justice.”

    The meeting reiterated that the policy of ‘zero tolerance’ would be adopted by not tolerating violence and mischief in the country.

    The meeting announced May 9 as Black Day at the national level.

    The participants of the National Security Committee expressed full solidarity and support with the armed forces of Pakistan.

    The participants condemned in the strongest terms the arson, encirclement and attacks on military installations for personal interests and political gains.

    The participants reiterated their commitment that any violation of the sanctity and dignity of military installations and public property will not be tolerated and that all elements involved in the Black Day of May 9 will be brought to justice.

    The forum made it clear that no concessions will be made against those who attack military installations and locations under any agenda.

    The participants of the meeting also paid great tribute to the martyrs and their families.

    The meeting directed to ensure strict implementation of rules and regulations of social media so that the propaganda carried out with external patronage and internal facilitation can be tackled and the elements who commit it are brought to justice.

    While the NSC vowed to bring to justice those behind violent protests, the civil and military leadership emphasised forging national unity in an increasingly complex geo-strategic environment due to global political conflict and destabilisation policies of hostile powers.

    The forum also stressed the need to resolve political differences through dialogue in accordance with democratic values rather than confrontation

    However, observers believe that in the present situation it is not clear if any consensus can be achieved given the crackdown against the PTI and its supporters.

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