NA passes resolution to try May 9 rioters under Army Act ‘without any delay’

Published June 12, 2023
Defence Minister Khawaja Asif speaks in the National Assembly on Monday. — DawnNewsTV
Defence Minister Khawaja Asif speaks in the National Assembly on Monday. — DawnNewsTV

The National Assembly (NA) on Monday passed a resolution demanding the trial of May 9 rioters — who were involved in attacks on military and state installations — “without any delay” and under the Pakistan Army Act, 1952.

The resolution, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, was moved by Defence Minister Khawaja Asif.

On May 9, PTI chief Imran Khan was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) with the help of the paramilitary Rangers at the Islamabad High Court in the Al Qadir Trust case. The development had sparked countrywide protests amid incidents of vandalism and violence.

During the protest, military installations — including the Lahore corps commander’s residence — 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. It had also 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 resolution passed in the NA today claimed that “a political party and its chairman” broke the law and Constitution on May 9 and “orchestrated” attacks on military installations.

“The actions of this party and its chief caused damage, that cannot by compensated, to the state institutions and its evidence is present. Therefore, actions must be taken against them according to the law and Constitution without even a day’s delay,” it read.

The resolution alleged that the “burden of these anti-state actions” conducted by the party was not being taken by its own members and they were distancing themselves from it.

“This proves that the agenda of this party and its chairman is against the state,” it added.

It further read that “no human rights were violated in the inquiry against the rioters,” adding that “a political party was spreading propaganda and levelling fake accusation in this regard”.

“Across the world, the right of inquiry against people involved in incidents such as attacks on military installations lie with the army. In Pakistan too, laws and constitutional protection against such elements exist.

“Therefore, an inquiry should be initiated without any delay against all the people involved in these incidents and they should be punished under the Pakistan Army Act, 1952,” the resolution added.

Debate on budget

During the NA session today, debate was also opened on the Federal Budget 2023-24, which was unveiled by the government last week.

Leader of the Opposition Raja Riaz Ahmed, while speaking on the budget, lamented the lack of incentives for the agricultural sector and suggested corrective measures to ensure food security and achieve reliance in the production of agriculture-based products.

He stressed the need for adopting modern harvesting techniques and increasing per acre production of seasonal crops.

Riaz called for increased focus on research in agriculture to enhance crop productivity and suggested that the government should announce more incentives for farmers.

One of his key demands was the restoration of the price control magistrate system across the country to provide relief to the masses. He expressed concern over the unchecked activities of middlemen, who, he claimed, were exploiting the people by creating significant price differences between wholesale and common markets.

The opposition leader also highlighted the hardships faced by the industrial sector and requested special attention in this regard from the government.

He expressed dissatisfaction with the budget allocation for the education sector and urged the government to allocate more funds to this sector.

Riaz also criticised the government for insufficient budget allocation in the health sector. He further urged the government to raise the pension of retired employees by 30 per cent.


With additional input from APP

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