Following the crackdown on Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders and workers, the United States State Department has called for “due process” as arrests are made in accordance with laws. Vedant Patel, the spokesperson of the US State Department, made this statement as dozens of PTI workers and leaders have been arrested on the suspicion of their role in the violent protests that broke out following the arrest of party chief Imran Khan on May 9 in the Al-Qadir Trust case.
During the protests that lasted for nearly three days and left at least 10 people dead and dozens injured, PTI workers vandalized public properties and attacked military installations across the country. Speaking at a regular press briefing on Monday, Patel emphasized that the US endorses non-violent protests and urged protesters not to damage government property or harm government employees. He further reiterated the US position regarding access to information and press freedom while saying that the United States does not support any political party or leader in Pakistan.
Patel also stressed that a strong, stable, and prosperous Pakistan is essential to the ties between Islamabad and Washington. Last week, the United States and the United Kingdom urged a democratic response to the protests against the arrest of Imran Khan, calling for authorities in Pakistan to respond in accordance with democratic rules and respect protesters’ rights.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s military leadership announced to try protesters and their abettors under relevant laws, including the Pakistan Army Act and the Official Secrets Act, after PTI workers and supporters stormed military installations on May 9th, which the army dubbed as the “Black Day.” The decision was taken during a Special Corps Commanders Conference (CCC) that was held at the General Headquarters, with Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir presiding. The military’s top brass also resolved that no longer will restraint be practiced against perpetrators, spoilers, and violators who attack military installations and setups during any circumstances.
Later, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif mentioned that no decision had been made to try PTI workers under the Pakistan Army Act after the military warned of bringing the perpetrators to book.