During a press conference in Lahore, Caretaker Information Minister Aamir Mir stated, "PTI must deliver these terrorists, or the law will take its course," as reported by Geo News
Former Prime Minister of Pakistan -- Imran Khan. File Photo
The interim government in Punjab province, Pakistan, has issued a 24-hour ultimatum to Imran Khan, the chief of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, to surrender all "30-40 terrorists" reportedly taking refuge at his residence, as per a media report.
During a press conference in Lahore, Caretaker Information Minister Aamir Mir stated, "PTI must deliver these terrorists, or the law will take its course," as reported by Geo News.
Mir referred to the individuals involved in the May 9 protests as 'terrorists' and mentioned that the government possessed credible intelligence reports regarding their presence at Khan's Zaman Park residence.
"The intelligence report that we have received is very concerning," Mir quoted, further adding that through geo-fencing technology, the agencies were able to verify the presence of the alleged "terrorists" at Zaman Park.
Geo-fencing is a satellite-based technology used for recording or restricting the movements of individuals or vehicles.
Recalling the recent violent protests in the country following Imran Khan's arrest, Mir alleged, "The PTI leadership had planned the attack before the arrest [of Imran Khan]."
The detention of 70-year-old Khan on May 9 by the paramilitary Pakistan Rangers at the Islamabad High Court premises sparked unrest across Pakistan.
For the first time in Pakistan's history, protesters breached the army headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi and set fire to the Corps Commander's house in Lahore.
The police reported a death toll of 10 in the violent clashes, while Khan's party claims that 40 of its workers lost their lives due to firing by security personnel.
Mir also accused the PTI chief of targeting the military for over a year, following a premeditated plan.
The interim information minister stated that the government has adopted a "zero tolerance policy" towards violence. Interim Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi has reportedly granted "free rein" to the Punjab Police to address the actions of "arsonists," as per the report.
"Several arsonists were in contact with individuals inside Zaman Park during the attack on the Corps Commander House. They will be dealt with as an example so that no one dares to carry out such acts in the future," Mir said.
"The individuals arrested thus far are under thorough scrutiny. Cases will be filed after 100 percent confirmation of their involvement," he added.
Mir further announced that the government has decided that the attackers on military installations will face trial in military courts. An official statement from the Prime Minister's Office confirmed that Pakistan's National Security Committee endorsed the decision made at the corps commanders' meeting to try the "attackers" under the Army Act and Official Secrets Act.
However, the proposal to try arsonists under the stringent Army Act has faced criticism from rights groups, including Amnesty International and the National Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, expressing their concerns.
The army had previously issued a statement declaring that it would no longer exercise "restraint" against those who attacked its buildings, the report concluded.