‘PTI rioters wanted to attack homes of Gujranwala, Pindi corps commanders’

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Amir Mir, Punjab Information Minister, has confirmed the news that individuals involved in the Askari Tower fire incident who later gathered at the Corps Commander House in Lahore had connections with PTI leaders. Mir in an interview with DW, stated, “According to the original plan, the protesters intended to target the residences of the corps commanders in Gujranwala and Rawalpindi, but fortunately, they were unsuccessful in these attacks.”

When asked about the evidence against those involved in the May 9 tragedy, Mir emphasized that there is clear evidence, and legal action will be taken against them. He further asserted that they are ensuring that innocent individuals are not wrongfully punished. With the presence of substantial evidence, it is highly likely that those involved in the May 9 tragedy will soon face consequences for their actions.

Regarding the efforts to apprehend the suspects, Mir explained that initially, 26,000 people who participated in the attacks on civil and military establishments were identified. This number was later narrowed down to 14,000 individuals. Currently, there is a list of 500 individuals who are wanted by law enforcement agencies for their involvement in the May 9 tragedy. The police are conducting search operations to arrest those who are still evading capture.

It should be noted that the 16 civilian suspects implicated in the Jinnah House attack case have been handed over to the military for trial in a military court. The Punjab government has already confirmed their involvement in the May 9 incidents. Mir shared that the investigation involved analyzing the geo-fencing data of individuals present inside and outside the Corps Commander’s House in Lahore, as well as obtaining their mobile phone records through data acquired from the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA). The investigation revealed their contacts with PTI leadership. Additionally, videos and pictures captured at the scene also confirmed the involvement of numerous individuals in the May 9 tragedy.

Mir addressed concerns raised about journalists facing difficulties due to geo-fencing. He stated that complaints from several journalists who were on duty at the crime scene have been addressed, and it has been decided that police officers will no longer visit journalists’ homes.

Regarding allegations of women being prohibited from meeting their families, Mir challenged anyone with knowledge of such incidents to come forward. He emphasized that the Punjab government prioritizes the safety of women in custody, sharing that intelligence reports had indicated attempts by PTI women workers to fabricate arrests and create videos to denounce alleged misconduct by the government. Measures have been taken to ensure their safety, with restricted access to their location.

In response to questions about people leaving PTI, Mir clarified that it is unrelated to the Punjab government. When asked about the caretaker government exceeding its mandate, he explained that the caretaker government of Punjab is solely appointed by the Election Commission and operates in a non-political and neutral capacity. The government aims to fulfill its responsibilities without prolonging its tenure unnecessarily.