In an interview with Hamid Mir on Geo News on Thursday, the president said the attacks on public properties and military installations should not only be condemned but strict actions should also be taken against the perpetrators.
“Condemnation is important but it should be reiterated that things like these shouldn’t happen again,” the president said.
He mentioned that in a private letter to Chief of Army Staff Gen Asim Munir on May 9, he expressed “his pain” over the attacks on the Corps Commander House, ISI office, and the martyrs’ monument.
Says PTI chief had no reservations on Gen Munir’s appointment as COAS
In the interview, Mr Alvi called for an independent inquiry into the May 9 events saying that the nation awaits an independent investigation after every incident. “If they [independent probes] are held, it satisfies people and puts to rest conspiracy theories.”
When asked about the government’s plan to try rioters under the Pakistan Army Act, the president said that during trials, the suspects’ human rights should be respected and they shouldn’t be tortured.
He condemned the “excesses committed by the police” against the protesters and cautioned that the world was looking at the human rights situation in Pakistan.
Mr Alvi said that the GSPPlus status granted to Pakistan by the EU is up for review soon and hinted that this situation may impact the chances of renewal of the preferred status. He expressed the hope that those in power would take cognisance of these violations.
‘Imran has no preferences for COAS’
When asked about Mr Khan’s allegations against the army chief, the president dispelled the impression that Mr Khan was against the appointment of Gen Munir, who took charge in November last year.
Mr Khan had no issue with the appointment of Gen Munir, the president said, as he referred to his meeting with the PTI chairman and retired Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa when he was the army chief.
President Alvi added that in meetings with the ex-COAS, where he was also present, Mr Khan kept saying that whoever the institution nominates should become the army chief. “Even Bajwa sahab was taken aback that Imran Khan has no preferences.”
He then went on to add that when he went to meet Mr Khan in Lahore before signing the summary to appoint Gen Munir, the PTI chief didn’t express any reservations.
On the issue of dialogue between the government and the PTI, the president advised the two sides to not set any pre-conditions for the process.
He acknowledged that prospects of talks were grim as the two sides have “come very far in hate for each other”.
“A trust factor is missing,” he said, adding that he used to tell both sides to accept “the first date agreed upon for elections”.
Published in Dawn, May 19th, 2023