Islamabad: Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah on Friday refuted the notion promoted by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) that everyone detained will be tried in military courts by stating that “only seven” of the nearly 500 cases filed following the vandalism on May 9 are currently being processed to be tried under the Army Act.
In an effort to clear the air regarding the government’s crackdown against those allegedly responsible for the mayhem on May 9, he stated in a press conference today that “the remaining will be tried by ordinary courts.” Numerous theories and plots have been circulating. So I decided it would be best to show up here and present the facts,” Rana Sanaullah said.
Sharing details about the legal action taken so far against the vandals who had attacked government and military installations, the interior said that following the violent protests that erupted across the country, 499 First Information Reports (FIRs) had been registered in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
“Of these, 88 have been registered under the Anti-Terrorism Act [ATA], while 411 have been registered under other charges.”
Sanaullah further shared that 3944 suspects had been arrested in the two provinces, adding 2588 of them were taken into custody from Punjab, while 1099 were arrested by KP authorities.
The interior minister added that another 5536 arrests were made in other cases; however, of these, 80% have been released on bail.
Moreover, in a bid to clear the air regarding the military courts, he categorically denied the rumours that all cases would be tried by military courts and explained that only seven of the 499 cases are being processed to be tried in military courts.
“It is being said that everything is being taken to military courts. This is not true. Only 19 accused have been transferred to military courts in Punjab and 14 in KP. Nowhere else are these measures being taken,” he clarified.
The interior minister further assured people that no innocent would be implicated in cases; however, he said that the law would take its course against those who instigated, planned and perpetuated the May 9 and 10 violent acts.
Sanaullah then turned to the procedure by which cases would be handed over to military authorities and said that they would determine whether the Pakistan Army Act (PAA) 1952 or Official Secrets Act 1923 had been violated.
Only those found guilty of violating these will be tried under army laws.
Elaborating further, the federal minister said that both laws come into play “when a person trespasses, suggests or provokes another person to trespass a prohibited area — be it building, area or an office owned by sensitive agencies responsible for defending the country.”
Earlier, Sanaullah said the people had rejected the politics of anarchy and chaos propagated by Khan. He also accused Khan and PTI of planning the violent acts and leaving behind an “extensive trail of evidence”.