Feud between Imran Khan and Asim Munir continues over May 9 ‘Black Day’
Imran Khan, who is detained at Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail, held a one-hour long meeting with PTI officials at the jail’s conference room.

at 9:16 pm
Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan (File pic)

Rawalpindi, May 10: There seems to be no end to the confrontation between the Pakistani Army and the country’s former jailed Prime Minister Imran Khan. After issuing condemnation statements to mark the first anniversary of the May 9 riots on Thursday, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir ruled out any “compromise or deal with the planners and architects of this dark chapter in our history”.

Meanwhile, incarcerated former prime minister Imran Khan on Thursday met with key Pakistan Tehreek-e Insaf leaders including former president Dr Arif Ali, who later urged powers that be to hold talks with the political party that enjoys support of “70% of the people”.

Imran Khan, who is detained at Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail, held a one-hour long meeting at the jail’s conference room. Apart from Dr Alvi, PTI leaders Omar Ayub, Raoof Hasan, Shibli Faraz as well as Imran’s wife Bushra Bibi, who was shifted to the prison a day earlier, were also present.

Talking to journalists later, the former president said the solution to the issues lay in holding negotiations with the party that represented 70% of the electorate. He said there was evidence that PTI’s mandate was stolen at the February 8 general elections.

Referring to the military media wing’s Tuesday press conference in which the army sought “sincere and public apology” from jailed Imran Khan over the May 9. 2023 incidents of vandalism, Dr Alvi said forgiveness should not be sought from the oppressed but from the oppressor.

He said those involved in the May 9 incidents within the army had been punished, adding that some PTI members might also be involved in resorting to violent acts on May 9, 2023 but the authorities had punished the entire party after the rioting incidents.

Imran Khan has refused to apologise to the Army Chief for the action of PTI workers on May 9 last year, and maintaining his stance that he was protecting the country from threats posed by “external and international forces”.

Meanwhile, according to a statement from the Inter Services Public Relations issued here, COAS Asif Munir said that May 9 would “undoubtedly remain a black day in the history of Pakistan when deliberately indoctrinated and insidiously guided miscreants attacked the symbols of the state and national unity, disgracefully desecrating the martyrs’ monuments”.

The arrest of former premier Imran Khan from Islamabad High Court on May 9 last year in the 190 million pound graft case by the paramilitary Rangers had sparked widespread violence. During the violent incidents, important military installations and monuments had also come under attack, which triggered a severe crackdown on PTI founder Imran Khan and the party leadership.

While Imran was released a few days later (he has since been rearrested in a separate case), thousands of PTI workers and almost the entire top-tier leadership were rounded up, with many still facing court proceedings under serious charges.

The Armed Forces’ media wing, issued a lengthy statement on May 9, saying: “By displaying utmost restraint during this deliberate and brazenly orchestrated violence, Pakistan armed forces thwarted the insidious conspiracy by the planners, facilitators and executors who wanted to destabilise Pakistan by inciting confrontation between the people and the armed forces”.

During a visit to the Lahore Garrison on Thursday, Munir said that attempts were being made by certain people via social media platforms to create a rift between the military and the public. Terming the riots as being “criminally orchestrated violence”, he said that its plotters were now trying to “twist the narrative” and “spreading lies”.

He went on to add that “there can be no compromise or deal with the planners and architects of this dark chapter in our history”, stating “the real leaders who present themselves as victims now will be held accountable for their actions, particularly when there is irrefutable evidence of their involvement and complicity in organized violence and sabotage”.

Khan and PTI have called the whole arrest part of an elaborate conspiracy to oust his government as part of the ‘London Plan’, with the party’s current chief, Barrister Gohar Ali Khan, noting that the arrest resembled a plan similar to the 1971 elections, when Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was ousted from power by Army Chief Yahya Khan in favour of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto by launching a full on military crackdown.