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Ahsan Iqbal Describes May 9 Riots as Pakistan’s ‘9/11 Attack’ on National Interests


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Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives, Ahsan Iqbal, has likened the May 9 riots in Pakistan to a “9/11 type” attack on the country’s national interests. The violent protests erupted after the arrest of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Imran Khan on corruption charges, resulting in significant damage to sensitive state and military installations.

In an exclusive interview with the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP), Iqbal expressed deep regret that “political party workers stormed and destroyed symbols of Pakistan’s pride” during the May 9 incidents. These symbols included Jinnah House, Yadgare Shuhada, fighter jets from the famous 1965 war, and the model of Chagai Mountain.

Iqbal described the reaction to Imran Khan’s arrest as “unprecedentedly irrational, unacceptable, and not less than the 9/11 attacks carried out in the US in 2001.” He went on to compare the significance of the May 9 incident to that of September 11 in America, emphasizing that the attackers targeted Pakistan’s heritage and the pride of its security departments. Jinnah House, for instance, was not only the residence of a Corps Commander but also a symbol of the country’s founder.

The minister expressed his dismay over the destruction of Captain Karnal Sher Khan Shaheed’s statue and the breaking of fighter jets from the 1965 war, stating that these acts were an attack on the pride of the Pakistan Air Force. Additionally, the model of Chagai Mountain, which symbolized the invulnerability of the country’s defense due to nuclear tests, was set on fire. Iqbal argued that there appeared to be a deliberate scheme behind these targeted attacks on symbols connected to national heritage and the armed forces.

Iqbal asserted that those involved in the subversive activities would face evidence-based legal proceedings. He stated that individuals causing destruction in civilian areas would be prosecuted under civil law, while those who attacked military installations would be tried under the Army Act.

The minister also highlighted how the enemies of Pakistan celebrated the PTI’s subversive activities, inflicting pain on the nation. He further criticized the economic policies of the past PTI regime, claiming that they had left the national treasury empty and hindered development funds. However, under the current leadership of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, the government had taken bold steps and successfully faced the crisis.

Iqbal addressed the issue of inflation, attributing it to the PTI’s four-year rule and its damaging effects on investment, particularly under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects. He praised the PML-N government’s achievements in attracting significant Chinese investment during its tenure and expressed the incumbent government’s commitment to reviving the CPEC projects.

Ahsan Iqbal condemned the May 9 riots as an assault on Pakistan’s national interests, comparable to the 9/11 attacks in the United States. He emphasized the government’s determination to hold accountable those involved in the subversive activities. Additionally, he discussed the economic challenges faced by the current government and its efforts to develop a framework focused on key areas for stability and progress.

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