United Nations rights chief Volker Turk opposes trials in military courts of May 9 arsonists
ISLAMABAD: Volker Turk, United Nations human rights chief opposed the coalition government’s decision to prosecute civilians involved in May 9 vandalism under the Army Act. He termed the decision “disturbing”.
Turk said, “Pakistan’s plans to revive the use of military courts to try civilians is ‘disturbing’.”
Thousands of PTI workers and supporters held nationwide demonstrations on May 9 soon after the arrest of PTI chairman in Islamabad in Al-Qadir Trust corruption case.
The PTI demonstrators destroyed public and private properties, attacked military installations and ransacked relics of martyrs.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International and other human rights organisations have also opposed trials in military courts, urging the Pakistani government to stop clamping down on the opposition through mass arrests, arbitrary detention, and charging people under vague anti-terrorism laws.
The joint statement in this connection was issued by Amnesty International, Equidem, CIVICUS and Forum Asia on Tuesday.
trial in military courts an internal matter: Hina
Hina Rabbani Khar, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs said that the trial of arsonists under the Pakistan Army Act 1952 is an internal matter of Pakistan.
She defended the federal government’s decision to hold trial of people involved in attacks on state and army installations on May 9, after the arrest of Imran Khan.
Hina Khar said, “No state can condone incidents of arson and vandalism.”
“Is there any state in the world that does not respond to arson and vandalism? Everyone saw the response to the attack on Capitol Hill in America,” she said while talking to media persons after attending a parliamentary meeting.
On May 17, the civil and military leaders endorsed a decision to invoke the Pakistan Army Act, 1952 and the Official Secrets Act, 1923 against people involved in the May 9 riots.
Violence gripped the country on May 9 after the arrest of former prime minister and PTI chief Imran Khan.
A few days after May 9 incidents, the federal and provincial governments have launched a massive crackdown against the PTI leaders and workers. Thousands of PTI workers have been jailed.
Hina Rabbani Khar, the state minister said she held discussions with the representatives of the European Union at the Indo-Pacific Forum.
“All countries were concerned about the rioting in Pakistan,” she added.