Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir asserted on Monday that the recent attacks on military installations and memorials were "intolerable" as he announced that May 25 would be observed across the country as "Pakistan Martyrs Day".
The army chief passed these remarks in a ceremony held at the General Headquarters, Rawalpindi, to honour the martyrs, a press release issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.
During the ceremony — which was attended by a large number of senior military officers and families of martyrs — Gen Munir awarded military honours to the officers and men of the Pakistan Army for their "bravery and outstanding service to the nation during operations".
The military's media wing quoted the COAS as saying: "Undoubtedly, we are living in a free atmosphere due to the martyrs' sense of duty and great sacrifices.
"The sacrifices of martyrs and services of ghazis are our valuable asset and pride."
Pakistan Army, Gen Munir stated, was an institution that always remembered every person associated with it and their families, "and our relationship as a family is a proud and exemplary one".
He added that every soldier and officer of the Pakistan Army put their duties and responsibilities first, "regardless of regional, linguistic, and political prejudices and distinctions".
"A strong army guarantees the security and unity of the country," the COAS stressed. He also expressed grief at the recent attacks on military installations and memorials — during the violence on May 9 — and termed such actions "intolerable".
The ISPR added that 51 kins of martyrs received Sitara-e-Imtiaz (military) while 22 officers and jawans were awarded Tamgha-e-Basalat. Two officers were awarded the United Nations Special Medal.
May 9 and after
On May 9, Imran was arrested by the National Accountability Burea with the help of the paramilitary Rangers at the Islamabad High Court in the Al Qadir Trust case — a development that sparked countrywide protests amid incidents of vandalism and violence.
Following the episode, the military has issued three statements in relevance to May 9 events, with the first one terming the day a “dark chapter” in the country’s history.
In its second statement issued earlier this month, the army said it “will not tolerate any further attempt of violating the sanctity and security of its installations or vandalism” and resolved to bring to justice all the “planners, abetters, instigators and executors of [the] vandalism”.
And in a more stringent step, the top military brass vowed on May 16 to bring the arsonists who attacked the civil and military installations to justice through trial under relevant laws, including the Pakistan Army Act and Official Secrets Act.
The decision was taken at a special Corps Commanders Conference, which condemned the “politically motivated and instigated incidents against military installations and public/private properties”.
Last week, the National Security Committee — which is the highest forum for coordination on security issues, was convened under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif — reaffirmed the commitment to try those involved in the May 9 violence under army laws.
Most recently, the army, in a statement issued over the weekend, said the legal process of trial against planners, instigators, abettors and perpetrators involved in the May 9 tragedy has commenced under Pakistan Army Act and Official Secrets Act as per existing and established legal procedures derived from the constitution.
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