Torching of Corps Commander House: Shehbaz holds Imran responsible

F.P. Report

LAHORE: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif here on Saturday said that Imran Niazi was responsible for the barbaric act of torching of Corps Commander House in Lahore as he planned and instigated the act of arson.

Talking to the media during his visit to the Jinnah House, the prime minister said the planners, instigators and abettors behind the attack would not be given any relief. He said the Jinnah House was the home of Corps Commander Lahore which was tragically and cruelly burnt on May 9.

The rioters attacked and set the house on fire, he said adding that the arsonists did not care that it was a historical building and the army officer and his family were living there. The building was inhabited by the son of the land who was on duty to protect his motherland, he remarked. “This was a cruel and anti-state act which never happened before in the 75 years’ history of the country.”

The prime minister said that he was saddened while talking about the incident. Nobody could even think that such an incident would happen. The nation was feeling shame and was grieving over the episode, he added. He said those who had perpetrated the act would be brought to justice. Such elements would be dealt with iron hands and the long arm of law would catch them to exemplary punishment according to the law and the of the Constitution which would be remembered by the world for a long time.

Shehbaz Sharif said the barbaric act was committed against those sons of the soil who were eradicating terrorism for maintaining peace in the country. It was an act against those who sacrificed their lives to protect the country’s borders and their wives became widows and their children became orphans, he added. During his visit to the Combined Military Hospital and the Services Hospital Lahore, the prime minister inquired after the well-being of the officers, including Deputy Inspector General Operations Ali Nasir Rizvi and other police personnel who were wounded while performing their duties during the rioting. Caretaker Punjab Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi, and senior army and civil officers accompanied the prime minister.
Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif also directed the concerned authorities to immediately arrest all those elements who were involved in different abhorrent and unpardonable incidents of vandalism, attacks and arson of May 9, inflicting massive damages to public and private properties across Punjab province.

Addressing a meeting during his visit to Punjab Safe Cities Authority, the prime minister set a deadline of 72 hours for the law enforcement agencies to arrest all those people involved in setting on fire different buildings and infrastructure including the historic Jinnah (Corps Commander) House. The prime minister said that the whole nation was in an utter state of grief over such painful incidents except Imran Niazi and his armed followers who had acted no less than the enemies of Pakistan as no Pakistani could ever think of such action or planning.

He said these people should be arrested and made to face the law in accordance with the relevant legal and constitutional provisions. The prime minister also desired the enhancement of the number of anti-terrorism courts in the province where the legal proceedings against all these culprits should commence swiftly.

He further maintained that during a meeting in Islamabad the other day, he had already issued clear directives that all those people who were involved, planned, abetted and facilitated the terrible attacks across the country should be dealt with iron hand. They would have to stand trials in the anti-terrorism courts and he had already instructed the law minister to increase the number of these courts, he added.

“It is time to do or die or now or never. The real culprits who showed this kind of enmity against the motherland should be arrested and produced in anti-terrorism courts under the relevant laws. These elements should be arrested immediately, without fear or favour,” he added. The meeting was attended by Caretaker Chief Minister of Punjab Syed Moshin Naqvi and other relevant officials.

The prime minister said on May 9, terrible incidents occurred in the history of Pakistan. The Corps Commander (Jinnah House) was completely destroyed which was a painful sight. During the 75 years of the country’s history, the enemy could not inflict such harm nor accomplish its evil dreams, but unfortunately, on May 9, under Imran Niazi’s supervision, planning and instigation, his armed groups set Jinnah House on fire reducing it to ashes, besides harming the historic articles there.

“Alas, as a Pakistani, I would not have lived to watch such a dreadful day,” he regretted, adding the people who were indulged in this abhorrent act, would be made to face criminal proceedings. Those who made plans and armed their rioters with weapons and batons to attack the law enforcement personnel and buildings would be dealt with iron hands, “so that they could become a permanent example for all that those who might act against Pakistan,” added.

The prime minister observed that the armed forces and the law enforcement personnel had been ever ready to sacrifice their lives to foil designs of the enemies, whether it was 65 war or in the fight against terrorism in which about 80,000 Pakistani lost their lives, including the armed forces officers, personnel, police, paramilitary forces and every member of society had sacrificed which led to crushing the scourge of terrorism. “They have protected the motherland with their blood while leaving behind their bereaved families,” he said, adding the PTI rioters also defiled the ‘shuhada’ and attacked their monuments.

He said such were the heart-wrenching scenes and had not been witnessed in the past, adding that those armed groups should be made an example so that no one could dare to cast an evil eye on these institutions. He said about Rs. 12 billion were spent on safe cities authority and it was the latest and biggest institution in the entire South Asia which was established during his tenure as Khadim-e-Ala Punjab under Nawaz Sharif’s leadership.

But in the last five years of PTI’s rule, cameras had been lying dysfunctional, showing the sorry state of affairs of the past government which also reflected the criminal negligence. Separately, on his Twitter handle, the prime minister said that he had given the law enforcement apparatus, a target of 72 hours to arrest all those involved in facilitating, abetting and perpetrating the disgraceful incidents of arson, ransacking, sabotage and damaging public and private properties.

He said all available resources including technological aid and intelligence were being deployed to chase down these elements. “Bringing these people to justice is a test case for the government. Their cases will be tried by the anti-terrorism courts,” he further posted in his tweet.