Apology only if fair probe proves our role in May 9 riots: Ali Amin Gandapur

Published May 10, 2024
Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur addresses a public meeting in Dera Ismail Khan on Thursday. — Photo by Muhammad Irfan Mughal
Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur addresses a public meeting in Dera Ismail Khan on Thursday. — Photo by Muhammad Irfan Mughal

DERA ISMAIL KHAN: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ali Amin Khan Gandapur on Thursday claimed he wasn’t involved in the May 9 violent protests.

“If a fair investigation finds me guilty of involvement in the May 9 mayhem, I should be hanged. We are ready to apologise only if our involvement in riots is proven,” Mr Gandapur told a public meeting in the Baisakhi Football Stadium here.

He also demanded strict action over the filing of “fake cases and illegal arrests.”

The chief minister wondered who ordered the “illegal” arrest of PTI founder Imran Khan.

PTI marks first anniversary of May 9 protests with rallies in KP

“All those who issued orders for the arrest of Imran as well as the registration of fake cases against PTI workers and leaders should be investigated. They should apologise to the nation for their acts,” he said.

Mr Gandapur said the PTI activists loved security forces for being the nation’s protectors.

He warned that if the governor’s rule was imposed in the province, then the PTI activists would occupy the governor’s house.

The chief minister claimed that former chief minister Pervez Khattak asked former prime minister Imran Khan to extend the term of army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa in office for six more months.

“Imran’s refusal to grant General Bajwa another service extension led to the fall of his government,” he said.

In the same breath, Mr Gandapur insisted that Imran Khan’s government was removed through an American conspiracy over a refusal to recognise Israel.

He alleged that the mandate given by voters to the PTI in the Feb 8 elections to rule the country was stolen.

The chief minister said the country was prosperous during the PTI’s government, but today, during Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s government, the inflation was skyrocketing to the people’s misery.

“If you [PM Shehbaz Sharif] cannot provide people with relief from record inflation, then you should leave the government,” he said.

Meanwhile, PTI activists and leaders marked the first anniversary of the May 9 violent protests with rallies in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province amid calls for a fair probe into the riots.

In Peshawar, a rally was staged at Chowk Yadgar with leaders, including members of the national and provincial assemblies, and workers showing up in large numbers.

The participants said they would continue their peaceful struggle for the release of their detained leader Imran Khan and activists.

They declared Imran the country’s most popular political leader and said he was unlawfully arrested from the court’s premises.

MNA Shandana Gulzar said she recently met the PTI founder in prison and found him to be “well as usual.”

“ [Imran] Khan’s message for us all is to forge unity,“ she said.

PTI provincial additional general secretary Irfan Saleem demanded probes into the formation of electoral alliances in the past and the ouster of an elected government by military dictator General Parvez Musharraf.

Former minister Kamran Bangash said the PTI defied all odds in the last 25 months and turned out to be “stronger.”

“May 9 was a conspiracy. Conspirators sneaked into our rallies. A judicial commission should be formed to find out who was behind the May 9 incidents,” he said.

MNA Arbab Amir Ayub said the PTI founder had been behind bars for almost a year but hadn’t yielded to pressure.

He said he was proud of the PTI workers who braved arrests and torture.

“This country and its institutions belong to us. We have offered sacrifices for them, so don’t call us traitors,” he said.

In Swabi district, PTI leaders and workers converged on Captain Karnal Sher Khan Chowk and insisted that the party activists were “trapped in the May 9, 2023, incidents under a well-planned strategy.”

They added that the party never harmed national institutions or integrity.

Noted among the participants were MNAs Shahram Khan Tarakai and Aqibullah Khan, provincial minister for irrigation Faisal Khan Tarakai, education minister Abdul Karim, adviser to the chief minister, MPA Rangaiz Khan, and others.

The speakers said they were peaceful and would remain peaceful.

They demanded the early release of Imran, the return of voters’ mandates for the PTI, and the ouster of a “fake” government.

“We are standing with Imran Khan like a rock,” Shahram said, adding that the PTI founder will step out of jail soon. The PTI activists blocked the Karakoram Highway in Shangla district.

In Bisham tehsil, PTI leader and former provincial minister Shaukat Yousafzai led a rally, while party leaders Abdul Munim and Abdul Maula addressed a demonstration in Puran tehsil.

The participants shouted slogans against the federal government and district administration, accusing them of rigging the Feb 8 general elections.

Two PTI rallies were reported in the Bajaur tribal district, with participants demanding the early release of party founder Imran Khan.

The Raghagan Bazaar rally was led by PTI local senior vice-president Sikandar Zeb Khan.

The speakers flayed the federal government over the “illegal” arrest of PTI leaders over the May 9 protests and demanded their immediate release.

They declared PM Shehbaz Sharif’s government unlawful, claiming it doesn’t have the people’s mandate to rule them.

The other rally was staged in Khar Bazaar by the supporters of local MNA-elect Mubarak Zeb Khan.

The participants said PTI workers stood by their detained leader Imran Khan as well as central and provincial leadership.

The PTI also took out rallies in Mohmand tribal district’s Halimzai, Mian Mandi Bazaar, demanding the release of Imran and other party leaders.

MNA Sajid Khan Mohmand, MPA Dr. Mohammad Israr and MPA Mehboob Sher led the protesters, who shouted slogans against the federal government.

They called the May 9 incidents a drama and condemned them.

Also, the PTI workers in South Waziristan tribal district protested the May 9 incidents by demonstrating in Wana and Azam Warsak bazaars.

MNA Zubair Wazir and MPA Ajab Gul Wazir led them.

The speakers said the country won’t progress until assemblies and national institutions had corrupt people.

They demanded a judicial probe into the May 9 incidents.

Published in Dawn, May 10th, 2024

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