• Wednesday, June 19, 2024

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Now, prominent Hindu leader of Imran Khan’s party quits over attack on Pakistan Army installations

Addressing the media on Friday, he condemned the protests on May 9 in the strongest terms, saying “Pakistan exists because of the army, and we exist because of Pakistan”.

Representational Image (Photo by ASIF HASSAN/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

Jai Parkash, a prominent minority leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) of former prime minister Imran Khan, on Friday (19) quit, thus becoming the latest politician to exit the party following the May 9 attack on military installations and government buildings in Pakistan following the arrest of Khan.

Violent protests broke out in several cities across the country after Khan’s arrest outside the high court in Islamabad during which several government properties were damaged.

Supporters of Khan also stormed the Pakistan Army’s General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi and the Corps Commander House in Lahore was torched.

Parkash, a Hindu and former president of the PTI’s minority wing, was elected to the National Assembly as a candidate of the PTI party on a reserved seat for minorities in the 2018 general election.

Addressing the media on Friday, he condemned the protests on May 9 in the strongest terms, saying “Pakistan exists because of the army, and we exist because of Pakistan”.

“I had no intention to leave the party till May 8,” he was quoted as saying by the country’s Samaa TV, adding that he was quitting without any pressure.

On Monday (15), PTI’s former Sindh governor Imran Ismail alleged that Parkash was picked up from his residence by over “40 masked men”.

Parkash’s resignation comes amid a spate of resignations of senior politicians from PTI.

Earlier on Friday, Mubeen Khilji, who held the post of a provincial minister in the PTI government also quit the former prime minister’s party.

At a press conference, Khilji said he was parting ways with the PTI on account of the May 9 violence. “We wanted peaceful protests,” he said, condemning the vandalism that took place in the aftermath of Khan’s arrest. Police have 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.

On Monday, the top military brass vowed to bring the arsonists, who attacked the civil and military installations, to justice through trial under relevant laws of the country, including the Pakistan Army Act and Official Secrets Act.

Law enforcement agencies have arrested over 7,000 PTI workers across Pakistan, 4,000 of them from Punjab province. Khan, the 70-year-old cricketer-turned-politician, 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.

(With PTI inputs)

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