Fawad Chaudhry Condemns 'Extremely Shameful, Regrettable' May 9 Riots, Calls For Punishing 'Everyone Involved'

Fawad Chaudhry Condemns 'Extremely Shameful, Regrettable' May 9 Riots, Calls For Punishing 'Everyone Involved'
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) senior vice president Fawad Chaudhry strongly condemned the May 9 riots that erupted following the arrest of PTI chief Imran Khan. On that day, Khan was taken into custody by Rangers personnel from Islamabad High Court (IHC), acting on the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) orders in the Al-Qadir Trust case.

Fawad Chaudhry, in his capacity as the party’s spokesperson, termed the events of May 9 “extremely shameful”. It may be noted that former prime minister and PTI chairman Imran Khan has also attempted to distance himself from the violent protests, rioting and coordinated attacks on Pakistan's military installations on May 9, however Khan has refused to categorically denounce the violence or condemn the actions of the rioters.

It may also be recalled that PTI senator Waleed Iqbal also distanced himself and his party from the May 9 riots, calling them "personal acts" that had nothing to do with the PTI leadership, which had in fact been riling up people's emotions for months and channeling public anger against the military ever since Khan was ousted in a vote of no confidence last year.

As a result of the May 9 riots, and the overwhelming condemnation of the actions of PTI leaders, workers and supporters on that day, many politicians are leaving the supposedly 'most popular political party' as they now believe that Khan's hostile approach to state institutions has started neutralising any popularity that he had, which they could cash in for votes whenever general elections happen. However, it has become increasingly clear that the government is no longer willing to talk to Khan, who has lost support everywhere except from bots, trolls and fake accounts on social media.

“Pakistan exists because Pakistan Army exists and we must devise our policies keeping this point of view at the front,” the politician said, speaking with journalists outside the IHC in the late hours of the night. It may be recalled that Fawad and his party frequently decried the "opening of the courts at night" when they deemed the development to have worked against their government in April 2022. However, the same PTI leadership is now benefiting from prompt, at times excessive, justice being awarded to them by the superior courts, some of whose adjudicators have been castigated for their partiality and partisanship for months now.

Sprinting back into IHC's protection

Just a day earlier, Fawad had gotten in his car after securing bail from IHC when he saw anti-terrorist squad vehicles block his car and security personnel moving towards him. At this, the former information minister immediately got out of his car and ran towards the court’s premises to evade arrest.



Visuals of Fawad Chaudhry's dash towards court as others chased him, and then the former minister slipping and falling, and later being seen disheveled and gasping for breath, went viral on social media.


Hours before this cat-and-mouse incident occurred, the IHC had accepted the bail plea of PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry and ordered his immediate release. The court also directed the law-enforcement agencies (LEAs) not to arrest Fawad in any case for the next two days. Law enforcement agencies moved to arrest Fawad despite the IHC orders. Fawad had also submitted a written undertaking or affidavit in the IHC that he will not violate section 144 or take part in protests.

The court had declared the arrest of PTI leaders Fawad, Shireen Mazari and Senator Falak Naz under Section 3 of the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) law "illegal". The IHC issued the order despite the anti-terror courts rejecting the bail pleas submitted by Fawad and other PTI leaders.

Fawad's love for Pakistan army

The former information minister and close aide to former premier Khan also spoke about his own association with the Pakistani military during his media talk. “I belong to Jhelum and the district is the abode of martyrs and veterans. It is more sacrosanct to us than our own families and blood relations,” Fawad purported.

Fawad Chaudhry said he regretted the attack on the Lahore Corps Commander's house and the Pakistan army's General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi on May 9, adding that everyone associated with Pakistan and its military was “obviously saddened” and their hearts were “shedding tears of blood”. “None of our graveyards is without martyrs’ graves,” Fawad added in a sombre tone.

"As a spokesperson of the PTI, I think these events were very shameful. Those involved in the incidents, whether they belong to the PTI or not, should be punished after an inquiry,” Fawad stressed. Further commenting on the state of affairs after the violent May 9 events, which have been condemned by the Pakistan army as a 'dark chapter' in the country's history, Fawad claimed his party is associated with Pakistan which also associates them with its army.

After attempting to escape police all day by running into the high court premises and then hiding behind the protections afforded to him by the superior judiciary, the irony was lost on everyone as Fawad Chaudhry told media persons that he was “ready to get arrested” as he left the IHC premises in the dark hours of the night.

'No more games'

Earlier on Monday (May 15), the Pakistan army's top brass — in a special corps commanders conference presided by with army chief General Asim Munir and held at the recently attacked General Headquarters (GHQ) — vowed to try protesters and their abettors under relevant laws, including the Pakistan Army Act and the Official Secrets Act, as they stormed military installations. The National Security Committee (NSC) also endorsed this decision of the military on Wednesday (May 17), and has vowed to take stern action against the violent protesters.

The PTI has said it considers the ISPR statement “immensely important” as Imran Khan has called for an inquiry into the events that unfolded after his arrest in Islamabad on May 9.