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9th May - A year later

By Mutaza Solangi

May 6, 2024 11:16 AM


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Tuesday, 9th May last year started like a normal weekday but ended up as a day that changed Pakistan for good. When Imran Khan came to the judicial complex in Islamabad that day, just before he could enter the courtroom, the police came to arrest him on the arrest warrants issued by the National Accountability Bureau, related to 190 million pounds embezzlement in the Al-Qadir Trust case. Two days later, the Supreme Court led by CJ Atta Bandial not only declared his arrest unlawful but kept him in a government rest house allowing him to meet around a dozen friends without making him responsible for the chaos he led, something he had been doing at least since 2014.

As on cue that day, the PTI leaders and workers attacked military installations, and government and private buildings and assaulted police and military officials resulting in the injuries of over 200. Over a dozen people ended up losing their lives across Pakistan on the day. The Mayhem continued for at least three days. In over 30 cities across Pakistan, over 200 places were attacked including GHQ Rawalpindi, Corps Commander’s House Lahore also known as the Jinnah House, Pakistan Air Force Base Mianwali, and Radio Pakistan building Peshawar (that was completely burned down). The rioters also attacked installations and residences of ISI officials. The rioters destroyed motor vehicles and didn’t spare private properties either.

A major war theatre opened in cyberspace, where the party had acquired the troll and fake information dissemination capacity over the years. Even when Imran Khan was the prime minister, during each crisis, instead of troubleshooting the crisis, he would call a meeting of the talking heads and the social media gurus.

During that day’s events, the disinformation machine of the party activated all its assets both within and especially overseas to attack the law enforcement agencies, especially the Intel apparatus and the army. Special effort was made to create a rebellion within the armed forces pitching young and lower cadre officers against the high command of the army. The special focus of the cyber campaign was launched against the COAS Gen Asim Munir, who was removed by Imran Khan in June 2019 as the DG ISI because he provided details of the corruption of his family members especially his current wife Bushra. There are videos, audio notes, Zoom meeting details and statements from the PTI leaders proving without an iota of doubt that Mr. Khan seriously believed that with his troll brigade, he would be able to cause a rebellion within the armed forces ending up in his catapulting to the throne and he will rule like Idi Amin or Kim Jong Un of Pakistan.

What is clear is that if the culprits, organizers, leaders, and planners of the fascist putsch are not punished to the fullest as per the laws of the land, the threat of its recurrence will loom large. It is imperative that the Supreme Court resolve the pending issue of the military court trials without further delay. Those who deserve to be tried in military courts must face the music. Those who deserve to be tried in the anti-terrorist court must face those trials.

Pakistan cannot afford the recurrence of 9th May. Another 9th May that mainly targets the most stable, disciplined and organized coercive apparatus of Pakistan will cause havoc not only for Pakistan and the region but the entire world. Pakistan is not an ordinary country. It is a nuclear power. Any adventurism like 9th May will have serious implications for 240 million Pakistanis as well as the entire region and the world at large.

9th May will also be an important memory marker for the establishment, not to support the cult politics. The populist fascist politicians don’t believe in the constitution and the rule of law. They will sacrifice anything and everything for their personal authoritarian rule. Anybody who supports authoritarian cult leaders will ensure the repeat of the disastrous 9th May incidents.

The incidents of 9th May also served as a rude awakening for all political parties. Nobody should even think of being a copycat as it would have serious implications for the parties and the country.

Pakistan today faces existential crises consisting of economic Armageddon, population explosion, rising terrorism of different shades, extreme political polarization, ethnic and sectarian strife, and intolerance in a hostile neighbourhood. Pakistan today, more than ever, needs structural economic and governance reforms and political stability so that we can divert a major chunk of our resources on health, education, and skill development of our people to come out of the woods that we are in.

Pakistan today needs and deserves a national consensus on the above issues so that we may achieve sustained political and economic stability and growth for our people. Everybody needs to chip in to make it a success.

 


Mutaza Solangi

Read Mutaza Solangi on

The writer is a journalist who recently served as the Minister for Information, Broadcasting and Parliamentary Affairs in the caretaker government. He is on X as @murtazasolangi


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