Probe body formed for holistic investigation of May 9 incidents: Solangi

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ISLAMABAD, Caretaker Minister for Information, Broadcasting, and Parliamentary Affairs Murtaza Solangi on Saturday said there was a dire need to carry out a holistic investigation of the May 9 incidents to determine causes, responsibility, and future course of action to prevent recurrence of such events.

Speaking in television talk shows of private media, the minister said the investigation of those involved in May 9 was underway on an individual basis, but Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar deemed it appropriate to probe into the matter holistically.

He said the committee that was formed the other day would not only investigate the May 9 riots thoroughly but also give its recommendations to prevent a repetition of such events by strengthening the existing legal regime.

Solangi said the caretaker government never viewed the investigation of the May 9 incidents as invalid. The law would take its course in the matters related to the May 9 tragedy, he added. He said it was imperative to bring forth the reality before the people as to how these events were planned and what was its purpose.

The law minister would be convener of the committee which would collect the details about the events that led to the May 9 incidents, Solangi said, adding the body could include a co-opted member to address any issues stemming from its proceedings.

He said the interior minister would provide secretarial support to the committee which would have two weeks to furnish the report. The minister said the committee would work by the law and compile its recommendations in light of the information provided by the state institutions.

“The committee is not a tribunal, nor a court, and we do not have any authority to punish anyone,” he remarked.
To a query, he said the government would not divulge details about the action taken by the previous government against those involved on May 9.

He said the caretaker government was constitutional and would make all-out efforts to ensure enforcement of the law.

According to the information minister, a “ghost article” was published by a foreign media in the name of Imran Khan. “As per our information, no information leaked from the jail and nothing came inside the prison,” he added.

The minister questioned whether the “ghost articles” could be published if nothing was written to the media from inside the jail. Suspension and termination of the sentence were two different things, he said, adding Imran Khan was not free as his Toshakhana case was not over yet.

The minister said Imran Khan was still a convict as per the spirit of the law. He said the former PTI chairman had not given any interview to any critical journalist during his government’s tenure. The situation did not differ any even when he was ousted from power, he added.

Solangi said the “ghost article” published in The Economist was based on propaganda. “We are writing to The Economist about this ghost article in detail,” the minister added.

He said there was no comparison between the interviews of former president Asif Ali Zardari and Imran Khan since the former was not a convict at that time.

Immense importance was given to the source in journalism, he said, adding it was not allowed to publish someone’s article in the name of another person.

He asked whether The Economist had given such a facility to any other person in jail. To another query, he expressed full confidence in the Election Commission of Pakistan for holding the elections.

He said the government would extend administrative and financial assistance to the ECP in this regard.

Solangi said the country’s history suggested that the elections were held in the country amid the severe weather and security concerns.

The ECP had given dates for the general election and the government would assist in holding the polls at the given time, he added. He said it was the responsibility of the administration and provincial governments to provide security to all the political party leaders including Maulana Fazl ur Rehman.

As regards the role of the caretaker government, he said multiple initiatives including actions against smuggling had been taken to chart the country on the path of economic progress.

The minister said the power to fix or change the date of elections solely rested with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) under Article 218(3) of the Constitution.