Islamabad: Maleeka Bokhari, a former parliamentarian, announced her departure from the Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Thursday, becoming another leader to leave the party in the aftermath of the May 9 riots.
Bokhari expressed condemnation for the events and stated that they were deeply painful for every Pakistani during a press conference in Islamabad. Emphasizing her independent decision, she mentioned her desire to contribute positively to Pakistan as a lawyer and spend more time with her family. Bokhari's resignation came shortly after her release from Adiala Jail, where she had been detained under Section 4 of the Maintenance of Public Order.
In addition to Bokhari, PTI Senator Mohammad Abdul Qadir also announced his departure from the party, denouncing the May 9 riots and the attack on the Jinnah House. He declared his intention to serve as an independent member rather than remaining with the PTI in the Senate. Furthermore, former Punjab Assembly members Mumtaz Ahmad Maharvi and Asif Manzoor Mohal, from Bahawalnagar, joined the list of those leaving the party, with Mohal describing May 9 as the "darkest day in Pakistan's history."
Following Imran Khan's arrest on May 9, PTI has faced significant pressure from state authorities due to party workers vandalizing and attacking military installations, including the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi. The army labeled May 9 as a "Black Day," resulting in the arrest of numerous party leaders and workers. The army has demanded that individuals involved in the attacks on military installations be prosecuted under the Pakistan Army Act and the Official Secrets Act.
As a consequence of the ongoing situation, Asad Umar, a close aide of Imran Khan, stepped down from his positions as secretary-general and core committee member. Several other PTI leaders and lawmakers, such as Shireen Mazari, Aamir Mehmood Kiani, Malik Amin Aslam, Mahmood Moulvi, Aftab Siddiqui, and Fayyazul Hassan Chohan, have publicly criticized the attacks on state installations and announced their departure from the party since the May 9 incidents.
Defence Minister Khawaja Asif revealed that the federal government was contemplating imposing a ban on the PTI after receiving evidence of "pre-planned" and "coordinated" attacks on public properties and military installations carried out by PTI supporters.
During her press conference, Bokhari expressed support for the authorities' decision to investigate the May 9 events and emphasized the need to hold those responsible for the violence accountable under the law.
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