• Fri. Jun 2nd, 2023

Up to 40 miscreants hiding in Zaman Park: Punjab govt

Punjab Interim Information Minister Amir Mir addresses press conference in Lahore, on May 17, 2023, in this still taken from a video. — YouTube/GeoNews
Punjab Interim Information Minister Amir Mir addresses press conference in Lahore, on May 17, 2023, in this still taken from a video. — YouTube/GeoNews

LAHORE: Caretaker Minister for Information and Culture Amir Mir said on Wednesday that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leadership should hand over 30-40 ‘miscreants’ hiding at Zaman Park or legal action would be taken there.

He warned the PTI leadership to stop patronising ‘miscreants’ and hand over those involved in the May-9 incidents to the law-enforcement agencies.

He said the initial inquiry had proved that the ‘miscreants’, who attacked the army installations on May 9, were hiding at the Zaman Park residence of former prime minister Imran Khan. “We have warned the PTI leadership and given a 24-hour ultimatum to hand over the miscreants hiding at Zaman Park for a transparent investigation, failing which the government will have to take action there,” he warned.

Amir Mir said the virus of vandalism and malice was more dangerous than corona and its treatment was possible only through ‘surgery’. A major surgery was needed to completely eradicate the disease of terrorism and misogyny, which would be done soon, he added.

The minister said the government had clear evidence that the kind of terrorist activities that were carried out across the country on May 9 were pre-planned by the PTI. The party had become a non-state actor like Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan after being thrown out of power, and it did not believe in upholding the constitution and law, and was challenging the writ of the state.

The minister said it was for the first time in the history of Pakistan that a ‘so-called’ political party attacked the GHQ, Jinnah House [Lahore corps commander’s house], martyrs’ memorials and other army installations. Earlier, such attacks were carried out only by the TTP.

Amir Mir said in the last video message, released by Imran Khan, a clear message had been given to the party workers to carry out arson attacks in case of his arrest. In the past, he repeatedly lashed out at the institutions responsible for national security and often incited his workers to attack the army.

The caretaker minister said it was not for the first time that any political leader had been arrested. The leaders of different political parties had not only been arrested in the past, but many of them spent many years in NAB and other prisons. But none of them provoked their workers to attack the Pak Army, he added. This is for the first time that the PTI, on the instructions of Imran Khan, had launched acts of terrorism against the army and the state, he added.

Amir Mir said the caretaker government had issued instructions to the law enforcement agencies to adopt a zero-tolerance policy against the ‘miscreants’ involved in the untoward events of May 9, so that no such incident happens in future. He said help had also been taken from NADRA [National Database and Registration Authority] and other agencies to arrest the miscreants involved in the incidents of May 9 and the process of identification was also going on through geo-fencing. Action would continue until the arrest of the last attacker, Mir added. He said that Section 144 was in force in the city and there was a complete ban on gatherings and processions.

On May 9, the caretaker government and the law-enforcement agencies showed restraint, but the ‘miscreants’ crossed all limits, he said adding that 30 to 40 ‘miscreants’ who attacked the army installations were still present at Zaman Park. He said the government had requested the top PTI leadership to immediately hand over those alleged terrorists. He said the government also had evidence of continuous contact of the anti-state elements with Zaman Park at the time of the attacks on Corps Commander’s House Lahore. He said if the PTI would not hand over the ‘terrorists’ hiding at Zaman Park, the government would be forced to take strict measures.

He said ‘terrorists’ involved in attacks on army installations would be tried in military courts. In this regard, the federal and Punjab governments had already approved a mechanism. The caretaker Punjab chief minister had given the police free hand to deal with the rioters and arrest all the ‘miscreants’ and their facilitators involved in the incidents of May 9.

Meanwhile, Lahore Police have further tightened security at and around Zaman Park, allowing only those whose names have been approved enter the house on Wednesday night. The authorities have cordoned off the areas leading up to Zaman Park and workers cannot even reach the residence if they were on bikes. Since the police have curbed the movement, the resistance that was seen last time was not expected this time.

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