Only May 9 perpetrators, not entire PTI, should face law: PM Kakar

Published January 8, 2024
Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar speaks during an interview with Geo News aired on Jan 7.  — Screengrab from YouTube/Geo News
Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar speaks during an interview with Geo News aired on Jan 7. — Screengrab from YouTube/Geo News

• Talks about dealing with party leaders on ‘case-to-case’ basis
• Calls on armed Baloch groups to surrender; says justice system ‘ineffective’ to handle militancy

ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar said that only those responsible for the May 9 mayhem, and not the entire Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), should be taken to task.

“PTI as a whole should not be treated as responsible for the May 9 riots,” he said in an interview with Geo News, on Sunday.

Asked whether he was sure that PTI founder Imran Khan was directly involved in the May 9 violence, Mr Kakar said he could not give his final opinion on the matter unless it was decided by courts.

“I receive many reports on this, which are sometimes conflicting. Therefore, you cannot make your decision on that basis,” he added.

The caretaker premier said there was a need to deal with the PTI leaders on a case-to-case basis so that there was not an impression that something unjustified is being done.

Asked what action has been taken against those military officials who were reportedly taken into custody for their alleged involvement in the May 9 violent protests, he said investigations into the matter were still underway and so far there was nothing concrete to unveil.

“When the investigation will be completed, ISPR (Inter-Services Public Relations) will share it with people,” he added.

He said those PTI leaders, who were accused of being involved in the May 9 events and were still in hiding, should surrender.

“Their rights will not be established unless they surrender. If they do not surrender they will face hurdles in their political activities,” he added.

The interim PM disclosed that once he was a supporter of PTI and gave his vote to the party in 2013 and 2018 elections because he thought PTI had a team and capability to rid the country of problems. “But now my views have changed as I have realised that they (PTI) don’t have any team or vision to address problems confronting the country,” he said.

In reply to a question whether he had been nominated for the slot of caretaker PM by some hidden powers, Mr Kakar said he was chosen by then-prime minister Shehbaz Sharif with the consent of then-leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Raja Riaz.

“Shehbaz Sharif made me caretaker prime minister and informed me about it,” he added.

Missing persons

About the Balochistan situation and the issue of missing persons, PM Kakar declared that armed struggles cannot be allowed in the province. He said armed organisations active in Balochistan should surrender and the government should take advantage if they did so.

Responding to a question about the killing of Baloch leader Nawab Akbar Bugti in 2006, he said that was a very complexed issue to decide who were on the wrong and who were on the right side.

“When Bugti was killed, some military officers like a serving major, a subedar and some others also lost their lives. What opinion can I give on this… they (military personnel) were fighting while wearing Pakistani uniform and on the other side people were fighting for their political objectives,” he explained.

He said Brahamdagh Bugti was working to change the geography of Pakistan and wanted an independent Balochistan and for this he justified his armed struggle while his brother Shahzain Bugti wanted to resolve problems of his people through the parliamentary system and under the Constitution.

The PM was of the view that Pakistan’s existing system was ineffective to address militancy.

“More than 90,000 innocent people were killed in terrorist attacks but not even nine terrorists were convicted. This shows that our system does not work. Three previous parliaments also failed to address the issue,” he added.

Despite existing threats, he pointed out, the country has no such law to punish terrorists.

Change of govt

Asked about the civil-military imbalance, PM Kakar said the change of government should be made through ballot and the government should perform democratically and be accountable to its deeds.

“The problems begin when the government fails to follow democracy and this issue is also being debated in the West. I am also an advocate of the democratic system but people’s support comes only when the civil side performs,” he added.

He said when civil authorities failed to deliver, it created a space for military to enter and when military entered it usually delivered.

Asked will the next prime minister have powers to freely decide the country’s financial matters, especially after the formation of Special Investment and Finance Council where army has its representation, PM Kakar said the SIFC had provided more space to the prime minister where all relevant institutions briefed him about the economic situation and decisions were made with the military’s support.

“Final decision of the SIFC is made by the PM,” he added.

Published in Dawn, January 8th, 2024

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