Islamabad: In another blow to ousted Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan, his close aide and former information minister Fawad Chaudhry on Wednesday resigned from his party which is under pressure from the government over the May 9 violence.
Chaudhry’s resignation came a day after former minister for human rights Shireen Mazari quit 70-year-old Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party and condemned the actions of the former prime minister’s supporters who attacked and torched sensitive defence installations across Pakistan on May 9.
“My earlier statement where I unequivocally condemned 9th May incidents, I have decided to take a break from politics, therefore, I have resigned from party position and parting ways from Imran Khan,” he tweeted.
Chaudhary served as the Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting and the minister for science and technology during his government. He was the PTI’s senior vice president and the party spokesman.
Mazari, 72, announced her resignation and retirement from active politics after she was released following her arrest for the fourth time since May 12 when she was picked from her residence by police and sent to jail in connection with the violence on May 9.
She served as the minister for human rights from 2018 to 2022, under Khan’s regime.
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 Army headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi was also stormed by the mob 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.
Several top PTI leaders, including Chaudary and Mazari, were arrested in the wake of the unrest.
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.