May 9 mayhem caused Rs6b loss: interim Punjab CM

LAHORE, May 15: Caretaker Punjab Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi on Sunday said horrible terrorist incidents took place on May 9 in various cities in the wake of PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s arrest, including Lahore, and a loss of over Rs6 billion had been estimated in the violence.

Speaking to the media, Naqvi maintained that all the attacks, including setting properties ablaze, looting. and ransacking, took place according to an organised plan and 23 buildings were torched in Punjab alone.

He added that public and private properties along with police vehicles were destroyed.

Around 108 vehicles of police and other institutions were set on fire.

Naqvi further said the Lahore corps commander’s residence, banks and ambulances were also set ablaze.

The caretaker chief minister maintained that solid evidence was available that a nefarious plan had been prepared to burn the aircraft at the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Base Mianwali but the miscreants failed to achieve it.

He continued that terrorism was carried out under the garb of politics.

“We will take these terrorism cases to their logical conclusion. No innocent person will be apprehended and no one responsible for this terrorism will go scot-free,” he pledged.

He added that he would not sit idle until each and every person responsible for the May 9 terrorism was behind bars.

Naqvi noted that reaching a compromise on these terrorism cases would be  tantamount to being unfair to the entire country.

“Whosoever will sit on this chair [CM’s slot] in my place, punishing those responsible for this terrorism will also be a part of their duties,” he maintained.

Naqvi pointed out that a political party had held a protest at Liberty Market and the its activists resorted to terrorism in the Cantonment area.

Elaborating further, the caretaker chief minister noted that around 400 miscreants invaded the Lahore corps commander’s residence (Jinnah House) and set it ablaze.

He added that around 3,400 miscreants were outside the Jinnah House.

He continued that the defence ministry was involved in the rehabilitation of the property and soon it would be restored to its original condition.

Naqvi informed the media that his administration wanted to met out stern punishment to these terrorists.

Reiterating that the violence was pre-planned, he claimed that all the places that were attacked were present on the protesters’ lists.

“Leaving aside all other works, all our attention is focused on ensuring their arrest,” he continued.

Naqvi said many of the people involved in the violence had been apprehended and more would be arrested.

“No leniency would be shown to anyone. In the light of solid evidence, we have  reached closer to those who had planned these incidents of terrorism,” he added.

The caretaker chief minister claimed that PTI leader Dr Yasmin Rashid was the central character of the Jinnah House attack case and it was necessary to take it to its logical end.

He continued that these incidents were a dark chapter in the history of the country.

“Military buildings and installations were attacked by the terrorists belonging to the TTP [Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan]. They were also targeted by the BLA [Balochistan Liberation Army]. I promise you that action will be taken after apprehending the real invaders [of the Jinnah House],” Naqvi vowed.

“We will ensure early trial of all these cases and if needed, increase the number of anti-terrorism courts. We cannot afford the loss of human lives,” he told the media.

The interim Punjab CM said in case of an attack on public properties and buildings in the future, the police would utilise all their powers according to the law.

He maintained that citizens had many complaints about the “no-go areas” in Zaman Park.

“These no-go areas will be removed at an appropriate time,” he pledged.

Responding to a question, Naqvi said after breaking the cameras of the Safe City project, hard disks had been taken out from the cabin and burnt.

He added that an attack on a Canteen Stores Department (CSD) outlet was carried out according to a plan and all the items there were looted.

The caretaker chief minister explained that ambulances, fire engines, Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (WASA) vehicles and container trucks were set on fire.

He added that several ATMs, banks and two metro stations in Rawalpindi were burnt.

He explained that the reconstruction and repair of these facilities would cost around Rs1 billion.

Naqvi said police vehicles, prisoners van, motorcycles, buses, Judicial Complex, army and police checkposts and General Post Office in Lahore were burnt.

One group of miscreants also set fire to a tower outside the Lahore corps commander residence, he added.

The caretaker chief minister regretted that political activists had been turned into terrorists, saying this was a highly alarming situation.

“We are writing a letter to the Election Commission [of Pakistan] in this connection and also give it a briefing. The Election Commission has to make a decision [in this regard]. The Punjab government has announced a reward for identifying the miscreants and providing information [about them]. The people are providing information on our WhatsApp number. We appeal to the people to give further authentic information about the terrorists and anti-state elements,” he said.

In reply to a query, Naqvi said former US envoy for Afghanistan reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad had lost his importance and people should pay any attention to his tweets.

He added that Khalilzad was targeting Pakistan’s military leadership and had no credibility. He asked the federal government to take a notice of Khalilzad’s interference in Pakistan’s internal affairs.

The caretaker chief minister informed the media that Section 144 had been imposed in Punjab and there was a complete ban on gatherings.

He continued that legal action would be taken on its violation.

Naqvi said a special committee, headed by the chief secretary, would ascertain the damages caused to private properties.

Speaking on the occasion, the Punjab police chief said 2,135 people — after their identification — had been arrested across Punjab for the May 9 violence.

Caretaker Punjab Information Minister Amir Mir, the chief secretary and information secretary were also present at the media talk.

No comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *