ISLAMABAD: Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said on Wednesday the government was considering banning the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in view of the coordinated and pre-planned violent attacks, carried out on military installations on May 9 following Imran Khanâ€™s arrest.
Addressing a news conference here, Asif said the parliament would also be taken into confidence if the government arrived at a final decision in this regard. He said those parting ways with the PTI themselves were disclosing that May 9 violent acts were pre-planned, adding that there was no precedent of the acts that took place on that day, which amounted to challenging the state.
Kh Asif said the armed forces had legitimate reservations on the violent attacks on military installations and memorials. He said every step would be taken to ensure that the armed forces were not targeted by anybody for political purposes in future. When asked about whether there was any pressure on the government to send Imran Khan in exile, the minister said it was an internal issue and there was no pressure from any quarter. He said every tactic of the PTI chairman had failed, adding that attacks on the military installations was also the last tactic used by Imran Khan.
“The May 9 violence did not happen suddenly, rather all was pre-planned having dangerous designs behind it,” he said. He said that Imran Khan had anti-Pakistan designs and was against the country’s integrity, which could be associated with an Indian and not a Pakistani. “Miscreants of the PTI challenged the state writ and it was foundation of the country which was attacked. They did every crime against the state,” Kh Asif said. He said the coalition government could not damage Imran Khan, rather he himself spoiled himself and his party.
“The PTI chairman played a gamble which he had lost and now he was finding ways for talks. He should not try to be innocent by saying that he had no knowledge of May 9 incidents. He had already stated that more reaction would come if he was arrested again,” the minister said. Reacting to Kh Asif statement, PTI Senator Barrister Ali Zafar said on Wednesday the Supreme Court would revoke the decision within 24 hours if the government slapped a ban on his party.
The PTI senator, who fights majority of cases of Imran Khan, told journalists outside the SC in Islamabad that vandalism was an “individual act”, and on the basis of such acts, “no party can be banned”.
“In the past, attempts were made to ban Jamaat-e-Islami. The Supreme Court, in its earlier rulings, has set a precedent that [the government] cannot ban any political party.” Explaining further, the PTI senator said there were different laws that deal with a party that resorts to violence and incites hate.
“If the PTI is banned, then I believe the Supreme Cort will strike down that decision within a day,” he said. Ali Zafar added that “nobody is following” the law in the country as despite securing bail, his party’s leaders were rearrested.
“This is lawlessness. We are filing a petition against this and the court will take notice,” he added.