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Mazari, Chohan quit PTI over May 9 vandalism as departure wave intensifies

Move comes as several party leaders have left party during past few days after May 9 chaos

By Ayaz Akbar Yousafzai & Web Desk
May 23, 2023

PTI leader Fayyazul Hassan Chohan and Shireen Mazari, in this still taken from a video on May 23, Tuesday. — YouTube/GeoNews
PTI leader Fayyazul Hassan Chohan and Shireen Mazari, in this still taken from a video on May 23, Tuesday. — YouTube/GeoNews

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders Shireen Mazari and Fayyazul Hassan Chohan announced quitting the Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in a major setback to the top opposition party which has seen a slew of leaders parted ways with it following the May 9 violence.

The development came as several party leaders and lawmakers — including Aamir Mehmood Kiani, Malik Amin Aslam, Mahmood Moulvi and Aftab Siddiqui among others — have publicly denounced the attacks on the state installations and announced leaving the former ruling party since the May 9 vandalism.

Addressing a press conference in the federal capital, Mazari — the former federal minister and close aide of Khan — condemned the May 9 riots during which PTI supporters ransacked and torched public and defence installations across the country.

“I strongly condemn the May 9 violence. I have always condemned the violence of any kind,” she remarked.

Mazari said she is not only leaving her party but also politics. “From today onwards, I am not a part of any political party."

The senior PTI leader also said her health deteriorated during the last 12 days of the detention.

“My children and parents are [now] my priority,” she remarked.

“I condemn violence against state symbols like the GHQ, parliament and the Supreme Court,” she added.

Sharing her ordeal, Mazari said her daughter, Imaan Mazari, had to go through a tough time due to her repeated arrests. “When I was taken to jail for the third time, my daughter was crying a lot, I saw her video.”

The seasoned politician went on to say that she had also submitted an affidavit to the Islamabad High Court (IHC) pledging that she would not become a part of any violent protest in future.

The senior vice president of the former ruling party had been arrested several times during the past few days following the May 9 riots triggered by the arrest of the former prime minister in the Al-Qadir Trust case.

Earlier, she was re-arrested once again after the Gujranwala court approved her bail in a case related to the vandalism and attacks on defence and public installations including Lahore Corps Commander's House and the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi during the violent protests.

Chohan lambasts PTI leadership for May 9 violence

Shortly after her presser, Fayyazul Chohan addressed the media and also announced parting ways with the party.

“I will continue exposing anti-Pakistan elements. I will say categorically that there was no PTI leader present who could stop workers from violence on May 9,” he remarked while addressing a press conference in Islamabad.

Opposing Imran Khan’s “anti-establishment” tirade, Chohan said politicians are not supposed to clash with the state institutions. “I had been sidelined in the party for the last one year and even once denied permission to meet Imran Khan in Zaman Park.”

He announced quitting the party saying he will continue serving the country and playing an active part in politics.

Reacting to the PTI leaders’ departure, Khan has claimed that they had been pressurised into leaving the party.

"My sympathies go to all those who are under pressure and have been made to leave the party. And I commend and salute all the senior members who are resisting the extreme pressure to quit the party," Khan wrote on his official Twitter handle last week.

Following the May 9 vandalism, the high-powered National Security Committee (NSC), comprising top civil and military leadership of the country, vowed to try the miscreants under relevant laws of the country including the Army Act.

Subsequently, thousands of party workers have been arrested across the country over their alleged involvement in the May 9 riots with top leadership including party’s vice chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi and secretary general Asad Umar remained behind bars despite court ordering their release.