‘From needle to bedsheet, PTI workers stole everything they could get their hands on’

1683982819 From needle to bedsheet PTI workers stole everything they could
PTI activists and supporters of former prime minister Imran Khan celebrate after Supreme Court declared Khans arrest invalid, in Lahore on May 11, 2023. — AFP
PTI activists and supporters of former prime minister Imran Khan celebrate after Supreme Court declared Khan’s arrest “invalid”, in Lahore on May 11, 2023. — AFP

The arrest of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on May 9 resulted in widespread chaos across the country as his supporters resorted to violent protests. The three-day period, starting May 9, seriously impacted Pakistan’s economy as businesses were forced to shut down in the protest areas. The government also suspended internet services to stop the party’s dissemination of information.

Despite the presence of law enforcement officials, things quickly took a violent turn as the protests led to the death of around ten people while several others were injured.

The situation got worse as Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah revealed that PTI workers looted shops, cattle markets, weapons stores, and even tried to rob banks during the protests. “They even robbed a needle and other everyday items such as clothes and bed sheets from Lahore Corps Commander House,” he added.

Sanaullah expressed his disappointment over these events and slammed PTI Chairman Imran Khan for inciting people to the protests, citing the Al-Qadir case. Videos circulating on social media showed that some people even stole a peacock during the protests.

The government and the military have strongly condemned the incidents and accused the PTI workers of being hypocrites. The military criticized the party for inciting its workers against the armed forces while also praising them for their contributions. Moreover, the government of Punjab announced a reward of Rs200,000 to anyone who helps the authorities in arresting the suspects who vandalized the Lahore Corps Commander House.

The province’s home department has shared the photos of the vandals and urged the public to help law enforcement agencies track them down. The informants’ identities will remain confidential.

It should be noted that Imran Khan has criticized the military in the past. Following his arrest, his supporters attacked military targets, including the torching of the residence of the corps commander in Lahore and attacks on the entrance to the army’s headquarters in Rawalpindi. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has directed the Punjab government to take immediate actions and arrest the vandals within 72 hours.