Senior PTI leader quits Imran Khan’s party over violent May 9 activities

ISLAMABAD: Firdous Ashiq Awan resigned from Imran Khan‘s party on Friday over the recent violent and “terrorist activities” and said the former prime minister and Pakistan cannot go together, becoming the latest senior leader to quit the opposition party.
Awan, 53, served as special assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting from 2019 to 2020.
She is the latest politician who resigned from Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party.
Awan, the former federal minister for population welfare, said she was parting ways with the PTI over the party’s “violent and terrorist activities”.
“I believe that the martyrs … their love and the country’s respect are a part of our faith. Those who disrespected martyrs attacked Pakistan’s foundation and ideology,” she said.
“Imran Khan and Pakistan can’t go together,” she was quoted as saying by the Dawn newspaper.
Her resignation came after other top PTI leaders – including the party’s secretary general Asad Umar, former information minister Fawad Chaudhry and former minister for human rights Shireen Mazari – parted ways with the main opposition party.
They condemned the actions of Khan’s supporters who attacked and torched sensitive defence installations across Pakistan on May 9.
On May 9, violent protests erupted after paramilitary Rangers arrested Khan from the Islamabad High Court (IHC) premises.
His party workers vandalised a dozen military installations, including the Lahore Corps Commander’s House, the Mianwali airbase and the ISI building in Faisalabad in response to Khan’s arrest.
The mob also stormed the Army headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi for the first time.
Police put the death toll in violent clashes to 10 while Khan’s party claims 40 of its workers lost their lives in the firing by security personnel.
Thousands of Khan’s supporters were arrested following the violence that the powerful Army described as a “dark day” in the history of the country.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Sunday that those involved in attacks on military installations would be tried in the military courts while those charged with attacks on civilian targets would be prosecuted under civilian laws.
Pakistan’s defence minister Khawaja Asif said on Wednesday the government was mulling a possible ban on Khan’s PTI party following the attacks by his supporters on military installations after the former prime minister’s arrest.
Khan was ousted from power in April last year after losing a no-confidence vote in his leadership, which he alleged was part of a US-led conspiracy targeting him because of his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia, China and Afghanistan.

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