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Black Day': No absolution for those trying to undermine nation's foundation, says Pakistani premier

Black Day': No absolution for those trying to undermine nation's foundation, says Pakistani premier

 
- Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party marks May 9 riots with protests, calling last year's incidents 'false flag operation' against party and its supporters
 

By Islamuddin Sajid

ISLAMABAD (AA) - Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday vowed that there would be no "soft-pedaling" of the May 9 riots of last year and that there would be "no absolution" for those who orchestrated and supported the attempt to undermine the nation's foundation.

The ruling alliance parties and the country's powerful military establishment observed May 9 as "Black Day," while former jailed Prime Minister Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party called it a "false flag operation" against its supporters and holding demonstrations across the South Asian nation.

"Let not the shadows of lies, hide the light of truth One year ago today, not only were symbols of our national pride and honor attacked, but the sanctity of our sacred homeland was also assaulted," Sharif said on X.

Hundreds of people were arrested after violence erupted on May 9, 2023, after Khan was briefly apprehended in a corruption case from the Islamabad High Court.

"There can absolutely be no soft-pedaling of what happened on May 9 and there can be no absolution for those who orchestrated, supported, and assisted the attempt to damage the foundations of our nation," Sharif added.

The country's military also issued a statement condemning the criminal acts committed on May 9, which it dubbed "Black Day."

"On this one of the darkest days in our national history, politically motivated and brainwashed miscreants in an act of rebellion deliberately resorted to violence against state institutions and vandalised sacred symbols of the state and the sites belonging to national heritage," said the military.

"Pakistan Armed Forces thwarted the insidious conspiracy by the planners, facilitators, and executors who wanted to destabilise Pakistan by inciting confrontation between the people and the Armed Forces," it added.

Meanwhile, the PTI is holding protest rallies in various cities, including Mardan, Swat, Dir, Lahore, and Faisalabad, with major rallies planned for later in the day in Peshawar, Dera Ismail Khan, Karachi, and other cities.

The party also intends to hold rallies in Islamabad, Rawalpindi, and other districts near the capital city before marching to Adiala jail, where Khan has been imprisoned since August of last year.

Since May 9, the PTI has faced a crackdown, with thousands of workers reported to be imprisoned and several key leaders leaving the party.

Some of them faced military trials, and Khan is currently on trial in several cases.

The PTI denies involvement in attacks on public and private property and claims that the violence on May 9 was a conspiracy against the party.

"The false flag operation on May 9 which tried to crush PTI was all pre-planned," Khan stated in his message from jail.

"The nation should be told on whose order I was abducted from the Islamabad High Court by paramilitary armed forces on May 9 last year," Khan questioned in a statement posted on X.

On Tuesday, Pakistani military spokesman Maj. Gen. Ahmed Sharif demanded that former Prime Minister Khan apologize for the violent riots on May 9 and distanced his party from the protest.

However, Khan on Wednesday rejected the demand for an apology, stating that it should be “sought from them.”

Opposition leader in the National Assembly Omar Ayub Khan also called the military spokesman's press conference against the PTI an "open interference in the political affairs of the country” and a negation of the oath he took as a cadet at the military academy.

"The whole world knows that 9th May was a 'False Flag Operation' against PTI," Khan said on X.

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