Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah all but suggested on Saturday that last night’s attack on senior journalist Ayaz Amir was in connection with his speech at an event two days earlier (Thursday) before adding that the government was investigating the incident. In his speech, the veteran columnist and politician had criticised the country’s military establishment as well as PTI chief Imran Khan.
“We are investigating the attack on Ayaz Amir,” he said in response to a query during a press conference in Islamabad. “If we can identify those involved, we will definitely arrest and punish them.”
Amir had criticised the role of the country’s military establishment while addressing the seminar ‘Regime Change and its Fallout on Pakistan’, organised by the Islamabad High Court Bar Association on Thursday. He had also pointed out issues with Imran Khan’s tenure as the country’s prime minister.
The video clips of the seminar quickly went viral on social media and were shared by leading figures including political commentators and journalists as well as Imran Khan’s rivals.
“US is too far. The place where things took place is near Islamabad. You may name Donald Lu or any one else. We all know that something else happened here,” the senior journalist had said. He had described Asif Ali Zardari, Shehbaz Sharif, and Fazlur Rehman as “accessories” in the change of government.
Condemning the incident, Sanaullah said that there were high chances that Amir’s criticism against a political leader in the speech the other day might have led to the incident. “But a final statement cannot be given.”
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and other political leaders had condemned the attack on Amir. The Punjab chief minister had also started a “high-level” inquiry into the incident on the directives of the premier.
Before answering the query pertaining to Amir, Sanaullah had said that there was no room for violence while speaking about the arrest of Mohsin Baig by the Federal Investigation Agency’s cyber crime wing and police in February.
Tear gas threat
During his media talk, the interior minister vowed to use “fresh” and “updated” tear gas against PTI supporters ahead of the party’s rally in Islamabad’s Parade ground today.
In a grim warning, Rana Sanaullah advised participants not to create a situation where “the need arises” for law enforcement to resort to shelling.
His remarks were also in reference to PTI’s claims that Islamabad police used expired tear gas against PTI supporters during the May 25 Azadi March.
The May 25 protest was marred by violence and clashes between police and PTI supporters before it was called off by Imran Khan over fears that there could be a bloodbath.
Other key points of presser
- Talks with the banned TTP would be based on the Constitution
- Rs10.22 million worth of Shuhda Package approved for Islamabad police
- Safe city project coverage will be increased from 30% to 100% this year
- Construction of 100-bed hospital for police
- Islamabad police salary and perks set at par with Punjab police
- Frontier Corps salary and perks will be set at par with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police
- Frontier Corps ration allowance increased from Rs92 to Rs264
- 2,000 FC personnel will be given anti-riot equipment and training