Time to tighten up ‘noose of law around masterminds who rebelled against state’, vows military brass

Published June 7, 2023
Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir addresses the 81st Formation Commanders Conference at the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi on Wednesday. — Photo by ISPR
Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir addresses the 81st Formation Commanders Conference at the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi on Wednesday. — Photo by ISPR

The top brass of Pakistan’s military on Wednesday vowed to tighten the “noose of law” around “planners and masterminds who mounted a hate-ripened and politically-driven rebellion against the state and state institutions”.

According to a press release issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the consensus came during the 81st Formation Commanders Conference at the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi.

Formation Commanders’ Conference is one of the military’s larger forums, which usually meets annually for discussion on strategy, operational and training matters, besides deliberating on organisational issues.

Today’s conference was presided over by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir with Corps Commanders, Principal Staff Officers and all Formation Commanders of the Pakistan Army in attendance.

“The forum paid rich tribute to the supreme sacrifices of shuhada (martyrs) including officers and men of the armed Forces, law enforcement agencies and shuhada from civil society who laid [down] their lives for the safety, security and dignity of the country,” the military’s media wing said.

It quoted the top brass as asserting that “the state of Pakistan and armed forces will always keep shuhada and their families in the highest esteem and will continue to honour them”.

The participants were briefed on the prevalent environment, challenges to security i.e. both internal and external and their own operational preparedness in response to evolving threats, both traditional and non-traditional, the ISPR said.

Addressing the forum, the army chief reiterated that the Pakistan Army would remain committed to the national obligations of safeguarding the “territorial integrity and sovereignty” of the country.

The people of Pakistan and their deep bond with the Armed Forces are and will remain central to all our undertakings and events of 25th May were a clear manifestation of same, the ISPR quoted Gen Munir as saying.

“Hostile forces and their abettors have been trying hard to create societal division and confusion through fake news and propaganda but all such designs will continue to be defeated with the full support of the nation, InshaAllah,” he asserted.

The forum, the ISPR statement continued, concluded that “unfounded and baseless allegations on law enforcement agencies and security forces for custodial torture, human rights abuses and stifling of political activities are meant to mislead the people and malign armed forces in order to achieve trivial vested political interests”.

It added that the forum condemned the incidents of “May 9 Black Day” and, in the strictest sense, reiterated its “first resolve that the desecrators [of] Shuhada Monuments and Jinnah House and attackers of military installations would certainly be brought to justice speedily under the Pakistan Army Act and Official Secret Act, which are the derivatives of the Constitution of Pakistan”.

“In this regard, efforts to create distortions and attempts to take refuge behind imaginary and mirage human rights violations to create smoke screen for hiding the ugly faces of all involved are absolutely futile and do not stand the abundantly collected irrefutable evidences.

“It has been further stressed that, while the legal trials of perpetrators and instigators have commenced, it is time that noose of law is also tightened around the planners and masterminds who mounted the hate-ripened and politically-driven rebellion against the state and state institutions to achieve their nefarious design of creating chaos in the country,” the ISPR said.

Furthermore, it went on to say, the conference resolved that endeavours by any quarter to “create obstructions and stymie the conclusive defeat of ill-design of inimical forces will be dealt with iron hands”.

The statement added that the COAS also stressed maintaining high standards of professionalism and motivation during operations and achieving excellence during training of their formations.

The army chief also commended the commanders for their constant focus on the wellbeing and high state of morale of their soldiers who remain the foundation of army’s operational readiness, the ISPR said.

“The forum concluded by affirming the resolve to render all sacrifices necessary for the security and stability of the country with the perpetual support of the proud people of Pakistan,” the statement added.

May 9 and after

On May 9, PTI chief Imran Khan 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.

During the protest, military installations — including the Lahore corps commander’s reisdence — and state properties were damaged across Pakistan.

Following the episode, the military had termed the day a “dark chapter” in the country’s history and resolved to bring to justice all those involved in the vandalism.

In a more stringent step later, it decided 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 also endorsed by the National Security Committee — the country’s top forum for coordination of security issues.

Subsequently, on May 20, the COAS said the “legal process of trial against planners, instigators, abettors and perpetrators involved in May 9 tragedy has commenced under the Pakistan Army Act and Official Secret Act as per existing and established legal procedures derived from the Constitution of Pakistan”.

The military and government also later decided to observe a ‘Martyrs’ Respect Day’ on May 25 to remember the sacrifices of martyrs and to honour their families.

In this regard, a number of commemorative ceremonies were held at martyrs’ memorials across the country.

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