ISLAMABAD: Amid leaders’ mass exodus from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Babar Awan — counsel and legal adviser of the party’s Chairman Imran Khan — “silently” departed for the United Kingdom (UK) on Friday.
According to well-placed sources, Awan left for London from Islamabad International Airport via a foreign airline at 1pm today. He left the country during the ongoing crackdown launched against the party in connection with May 9 riots and attacks on the civil and military installations.
His family sources, however, said that Awan’s London trip was already scheduled, adding that he would return soon.
In a tweet, Awan confirmed the report, saying he is abroad due to his scheduled personal engagements.
“All of my medicines are Pakistani and [I receive] treatment by Pakistani doctors,” he added.
He said: “Earlier, Imran was a friend, now he is my leader; PTI is my larger family and Pakistan is my destination.”
As a result of the days-day-long protests triggered by Khan’s arrest from the Islamabad High Court in the Al-Qadir Trust case, around eight people lost their lives, dozens were injured, and the government suspended internet services to maintain the law and order situation.
Khan’s party has been feeling the heat of the state’s might as his party workers burnt and smashed military installations, including the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, after his arrest on May 9 — a day the army dubbed as “Black Day”.
Several party leaders and thousands of workers have been rounded up in connection with the violent protests and the army has insisted that the people involved in attacks on military installations be tried under the Pakistan Army Act and the Official Secrets Act.
A close aide of Khan, Asad Umar, has relinquished his posts of secretary general and core committee member, citing the ongoing situation.
Scores of party leaders and lawmakers — including Shireen Mazari, Aamir Mehmood Kiani, Malik Amin Aslam, Mahmood Moulvi, Aftab Siddiqui, Fayyazul Hassan Chohan among others — have publicly denounced the attacks on the state installations and announced leaving the former ruling party since the May 9 vandalism.
Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said the federal government was considering imposing a ban on the PTI after receiving evidence that the party’s supporters carried out “pre-planned” and “coordinated” attacks on public properties and military installations.
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