Pakistan marks one year of ‘Black Day’, Imran Khan refuses to apologise
PTI workers had even targeted military installations, and that too the Army’s General Headquarters in Rawalpindi and the Corps Commander's house in Lahore

at 12:10 am
File pic of Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif

Islamabad, May 9: Marking one year of the massive riots that took place after former Prime Minister and cricket legend Imran Khan was arrested in connection with the Al Qadir Trust Case, Pakistan marked May 9 as ‘Black day’.

Giving a formal statement on his X account, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari wrote: “President Asif Ali Zardari has stated that 9th May 2023, will always be remembered as a dark day in Pakistan’s history when a politically instigated mob ran amok across the country, damaging public property and military installations.”


Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday vowed that there would be no “soft-pedaling” of the May 9 riots of last year and that there would be “no absolution” for those who orchestrated and supported the attempt to undermine the nation’s foundation.

“Let not the shadows of lies, hide the light of truth One year ago today, not only were symbols of our national pride and honor attacked, but the sanctity of our sacred homeland was also assaulted,” Sharif said on X.

The rioting which took place after Khan’s arrest saw thousands of his party’s workers, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, vandalising various public buildings, as well as indulging in massive levels of violence and even arson across the country; particularly in the provinces of Punjab, Sindh, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The riots saw the PTI workers assault law enforcement authorities, and even Army personnel, eventually leaving 14 people dead and several injured. Throughout the riots, the law authorities were made helpless.

PTI workers had targeted the homes of civilians and engaged in massive feuds with the police, vandalised and destroyed public property, even setting fire to the building of Radio Pakistan in Peshawar.

The situation only worsened after Islamabad High Court labeled Khan’s arrest as “legal”. The government responded with a limited mobile internet blockade and a massive crackdown against PTI leaders, workers, and supporters, as well as those perceived to be allied with the party’s cause within the media and legal fraternity.

What made this event so big was that PTI workers even targeted military installations, and that too the Army’s General Headquarters in Rawalpindi and the Corps Commander’s house in Lahore, attacking the Pakistan Air Force’s station at Mianwali Airbase, and the ISI building in Faisalabad.

Remembering the incident, the Armed Forces’ mouthpiece, the Inter-Services-Intelligence asked the PTI leader to issue a full-fledged apology at a recent press-conference.

Asking him to discard the “politics of hate”, the DG (ISPR) Major General Ahmed Sharif dismissed the possibility of any ‘deal’ with the PTI founder, saying there won’t be any talks with “anarchists”.

Having called his arrest “illegal”, “politically motivated”, ex-PM Khan has condemned the violence, but also accused the Army of conducting a ‘false flag operation’ on him and his party as part of a large-scale conspiracy, and has refused to tender any apology whatsoever.

“Why should the onus be on me to apologize? The apology should be directed towards me,” the ousted prime minister said during a casual interaction with reporters at Adiala jail, the Express Tribune reported.

While the Army did show restraint on its use of physical force, it was quick to take the matter into its own hands, trying several PTI members in military courts, detaining 103 individuals and firing three officers for their failure in preventing the attacks.

Meanwhile, the PTI is holding protest rallies in various cities, including Mardan, Swat, Dir, Lahore, and Faisalabad, with major rallies planned for later in the day in Peshawar, Dera Ismail Khan, Karachi, and other cities.

The Al-Qadir Trust Case saw Khan, along with his wife Bushra Bibi and several leaders of the PTI facing inquiry by the country’s National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for corruption.

NAB stated that Khan, his wife, and some of his allies within the PTI made a private settlement with a business tycoon which cost the state over 190 million pounds of monetary loss.

The agency also accused Khan and Co. of adjusting the amount which was actually sent by Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) to the Pakistani government, as a part of the agreement with the real estate tycoon.