Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar on Saturday described the May 9 riots as “an attempted coup and civil war,” alleging the target was incumbent Army chief Gen. Asim Munir and his team.
In an interview with Saleem Safi on Geo News, he reiterated condemnations of the riots triggered by the arrest of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan. “The vandalism and arson on May 9 was witnessed by the whole world and international newspapers reported the tragedy. This kind of manipulation is not acceptable in any form of government,” he said, stressing that it was incorrect to regard the cases against the accused as vengeance from the state.
Rather, he said, if legal action were not taken against the culprits, then the government would be seen as a party to the violence. He emphasized that no political party had the right to burn buildings or attack their perceived rivals.
On Islamabad’s policy regarding the banned Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other terrorist groups, the interim prime minister said the state had the option of availing either negotiation or force to tackle the threat. To a question, he said the world had expected the situation in Afghanistan to improve after the Taliban returned to power in 2021, but it had “unfortunately” worsened. Pointing to the arms, ammunition and other military equipment abandoned by U.S.-led forces while withdrawing from the war-torn country, he said this had caused problems for Pakistan.
“The effects of the abandoned U.S. military equipment in Afghanistan have started for us,” he said, adding the “entire region” would see its impacts. These weapons, he alleged, were being used to stage attacks inside Pakistan. Nonetheless, he asserted, Pakistan wished to see a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan, adding this was also in the interest of Islamabad.
To a question on ties between Pakistan and India, Kakar emphasized the need for a peaceful resolution to the Kashmir dispute as per U.N. resolutions. Stressing that Pakistan did not wish to war with India, he warned it would be of great matter for not only the neighboring nations, but also the entire world if a chance for peace between them were denied.
“Terming the Kashmir a core issue does not mean that we want war all the time with India,” he explained, while acknowledging that Islamabad’s traditional and historical relationship with New Delhi had not been friendly. He said a step toward normalization of ties could be resumption of bilateral trade, but said this was a decision to be taken by Indian politicians.
Responding to question on general elections, the interim prime minister maintained he had no desire to remain in office longer than the timeframe set by the Constitution. Stressing that it was the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP)’s mandate to announce a date for general elections, he said his government would comply with whatever ruling the Supreme Court gave on the conduct of polling.