The National Security Committee (NSC) on Tuesday endorsed the decision of country’s top military brass to try those involved in ransacking the military installations under the Pakistan Army Act and Official Secret Act.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif chaired the high-powered NSC meeting, which attended by senior cabinet ministers, three services chiefs, DG ISI and other relevant officials.
While the civil and military leadership promised to bring to justice those behind the violent protests, they stressed the need for dialogue over confrontation to resolve the political differences.
The meeting was convened to discuss violent protests triggered after the arrest of former prime minister Imran Khan. Protesters ransacked and vandalised military installations including the Corps Commander’s residence in Lahore.
However, Army Chief General Asim Munir on Monday chaired a special corps commanders conference, which decided to try perpetrators, planners and executors of such attacks under the Pakistan Army and official secret act.
A statement issued by the PM office after the NSC meeting read: “The meeting endorsed the decision to initiate trials against the perpetrators, conspirators, and facilitators under relevant laws including the Pakistan Army Act and the Official Secrets Act, to ensure justice.”
The meeting reiterated that the policy of ‘zero tolerance’ would be adopted by not tolerating violence and mischief in the country.
The meeting announced May 9 as Black Day at the national level.
The participants of the National Security Committee expressed full solidarity and support with the armed forces of Pakistan.
The participants condemned in the strongest terms the arson, encirclement and attacks on military installations for personal interests and political gains.
In addition, Participants reiterated their commitment to not tolerate any violation of the sanctity and dignity of military installations and public property and to bring all elements involved in the Black Day of May 9 to justice.
The forum made it clear that they will not make any concessions against those who attack military installations and locations under any agenda.
The participants of the meeting also paid great tribute to the martyrs and their families.
The meeting directed to ensure strict implementation of rules and regulations of social media in order to tackle the propaganda carried out with external patronage and internal facilitation and bring the elements who commit it to justice.
While the NSC vowed to bring to justice those behind violent protests, the civil and military leadership emphasised forging national unity in an increasingly complex geo-strategic environment due to global political conflict and destabilisation policies of hostile powers.
The forum also stressed the need to resolve political differences through dialogue in accordance with democratic values rather than confrontation
However, observers believe that in the present situation, it is not clear if any consensus can achieved due to the crackdown against the PTI and its supporters.
Published in the Logical Baat, May 17, 2023.