Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif says protesters will be treated with an ‘iron fist’

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday condemned deadly protests by supporters of former Prime Minister Imran Khan after his arrest in a corruption case and warned to deal with protesters with an iron fist.
The prime minister delivered a brief address to the nation after the country was rocked by deadly violence over the past two days, which saw attacks on military installations and state properties.
“The attack on public property is an act of terrorism and enmity towards the country,” the prime minister said, adding that those who take justice into their own hands would be dealt with an iron fist.
“They will receive an exemplary punishment,” he said.
The Prime Minister said that “the protection of the state and ideology of Pakistan is more precious to us than our lives and we will not allow anyone to conspire against it” and vowed to defeat the “evil designs” of the enemies.
He accused Khan and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) of causing severe damage to sensitive facilities in the country.
“Such a scene had never been seen in 75 years. Many lives were in danger. Even ambulances were set on fire. The Swat highway was burned down. Like the enemy, installations of the armed forces were attacked,” he said.
The Prime Minister alleged that the families and loved ones of political opponents were not spared when Khan ruled the country, adding that cricketer-turned-politician Khan’s ministers used to broadcast details of cases against political opponents and that the former prime minister used to predict arrests.
“Not only political opponents, but also family and loved ones have not been forgiven,” the prime minister said, adding that the country’s political history had been very bitter.
Shehbaz also said that never in history have acts of revenge in politics yielded good results.
He said under the old liability law anyone could be arrested for 90 days and it was “impossible” to get bail, but his government changed that law and reduced the bail period. pre-trial detention from 90 to 15 days.
Speaking about Khan’s arrest, Shehbaz said “all the evidence” in the Al-Qadir Trust case against the PTI chairman was available and the firm was kept in the dark.
“How could this be the cabinet’s decision when the case concerns around Rs 60 billion from the national treasury?” He asked.
Violent clashes between Imran Khan’s supporters and security forces left at least seven people dead and nearly 300 injured across Pakistan as the army deployed in the capital Islamabad on Wednesday, as well as in Punjab provinces , Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan to maintain law and order.
Khan was taken into custody by paramilitary Rangers on Tuesday by order of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) from the premises of the Islamabad High Court where he had come to attend a hearing in a corruption case.


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