Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri on Saturday announced his retirement from Pakistani politics and from his post as the party's chairman.
In a message shared via video link in Lahore, Dr Qadri said: "I am retiring from Pakistani politics, political activities and from my post as PAT chairman."
Dr Qadri said he was not handing over leadership of PAT to his sons, but transferring power to the party's council.
"Our legal battle for the Model Town incident will continue till my last breath," Dr Qadri said, adding: "That is not a matter of politics, it is a matter of faith."
In a tweet from his official account, Qadri said: "I am separating myself from the political activities of Pakistan Awami Tehreek. I am announcing my retirement. This decision comes as a result of my health issues and profound academic commitments."
On June 17, 2014, at least 14 people were killed and 100 others injured when police opened fire to disperse protesting activists of the PAT during an ‘anti-encroachment’ operation outside the residence of Dr Qadri.
Later the same year, the PAT chief led an over two-month-long protest sit-in in Islamabad along with Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman (now prime minister) Imran Khan.
Qadri founded Minhaj ul Quran, a non-profit providing education, religious and cultural services, in October 1981. He also founded a political party, the PAT, in May 1989. The main objective of the party was to ensure the provision of law and order for the general public, respect for human rights, elimination of poverty and quality education for all.
In 1990, members from the PAT contested for the general elections and later on Qadri was elected as a member of the National Assembly. However, he resigned from his seat on November 29, 2004.