Lahore: The women supporters of ousted Pakistan premier Imran Khan who have been arrested in connection with arson attacks on military installations will be jailed for 10 years for their “unpardonable crime”, a senior official has said.
Addressing the media here Saturday evening, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant Attaullah Tarar told reporters that a joint investigation team has been formed to find out the mastermind of those attacks.
“All those including women involved in attacks on military installations will be handed down a severe punishment,” he said.
“The women who attacked the military installations May 9 will get a punishment of 10 years as their crime is unpardonable,” Tarar said.
Widespread violence erupted in Pakistan after Khan was arrested by paramilitary personnel outside the Islamabad High Court May 9. The 70-year-old Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief was later released on bail.
Over 20 military installations and government buildings, including the military headquarters in Rawalpindi, were damaged or torched in the violence that ensued from
Khan’s arrest. Over 100 vehicles of police and other security agencies were set on fire.
Law enforcement agencies have arrested over 10,000 workers of Khan’s PTI party across Pakistan, most of them from Punjab.
Tarar slammed the imprisoned women from the PTI for complaining about the substandard food served to them in jails.
“We can’t provide them tasty food in jail. These women were on the forefront in attacking the state installations,” he said.
Tarar also said there would be no talks with the PTI till all culprits of the May 9 violence are punished.
A joint investigation team has been formed to find out the mastermind of these attacks, he said, adding that it has been established that Khan was behind the unrest.
Several federal ministers including Defence Minister Khawaja Asif and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah have said Khan is likely to be tried under the military laws for masterminding attacks on the military installations.
Reacting to reports of mistreatment of arrested PTI women in jails, former prime minister Khan tweeted on Sunday: “PTI women have been abducted and are being mistreated in jails, kept under inhumane conditions and subjected to severe mental torture when none were involved in the arson.”
Khan said the party’s women supporters were humiliated while protesting peacefully to terrorise and scare them from exercising their fundamental right of protest in the future and also to depoliticise them.
“I am proud of the way all our women have withstood everything with such dignity and courage,” he said.
The Pakistan military is trying the May 9 violence suspects under the Army Act. So far, over 50 suspects have been handed over to the army for their court martial.