(MANEND NEWS): Defence Minister Khawaja Asif has stated that those Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) protesters who have been accused of wrongdoing will be tried in military courts but will have the right to appeal in the high courts as well as the Supreme Court (SC).
In an interview with Arab news channel Al Jazeera, the minister expressed his perspective on the aftermath of the violent protests on May 9 by the PTI workers following the arrest of their party Chairman Imran Khan.
Asif emphasised that the PTI individuals involved in the protests executed a well-planned assault on public and government properties, including military installations.
He regarded these actions equivalent to waging war against Pakistan.
“Those who attacked military installations, bases, and residences of military personnel will undergo trials according to the constitutional procedure in military courts,” he added.
While acknowledging a political crisis in Pakistan, Asif expressed confidence that it would be resolved shortly.
He pointed out that during the May 9 incidents in Rawalpindi, Mianwali, and Lahore, armed PTI groups attacked military installations.
Asif highlighted past arrests in Pakistan, including his own and those of his party members, including his party leader Nawaz Sharif.
However, he emphasised that they never engaged in violent political activities or targeted military and civilian installations.
The defence minister denounced the attackers of military and civilian installations as enemies of the country.
While acknowledging political differences, he asserted that such disagreements should not lead to attacks on government and public properties.
Asif clarified that the government was not establishing new courts or laws, as there were already existing laws to handle trials in cases of violence against state installations.
He reassured that the government was working towards restoring peace, and normalcy was expected to return to the cities in the coming days.
The defence minister also confirmed that general elections would be held as per schedule in October.