Former PTI leader blames Imran for May 9 riots

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LAHORE: Former Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) South Punjab president Sadaq Ali Abbasi has accused former prime minister Imran Khan of being responsible for the May 9 riots that rocked the country and led to a massive countrywide crackdown on the party.

He claimed that Imran’s confrontational narrative with institutions and the army played a key role in instigating the violence.

Abbasi, who recently reappeared after absence since his unofficial arrest on September 1 in Islamabad, stated that there was a faction within the party, including leaders like Shirin Mazari and Shahbaz Gill, that unnecessarily exaggerated facts during meetings with Imran.

He argued that instead of leading to reconciliation, Imran’s resistance tactics have caused the disintegration of PTI, leaving no room for a peaceful resolution.

In an interview with a private news channel, Abbasi also stated that he felt no pressure to resign from PTI but made the decision himself, adding that he could no longer shoulder the burden of the May 9 riots.

Abbasi further revealed Imran’s alleged opposition to the appointment of Army Chief Syed Asim Munir and disclosed that on May 6, he and others were instructed to organise a rally aimed at exerting pressure on the establishment, eventually resulting in a plan to disrupt Rawalpindi.

It is pertinent to note that on October 3, Abbasi was granted bail by the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Rawalpindi for the GHQ attack case. He had been abducted from outside Parliament Lodges, and a petition seeking his recovery was still pending before the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

Abbasi presented himself before the Rawalpindi ATC and applied for pre-arrest interim bail. The judge approved the bail, requiring a surety bond of Rs50,000.

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