Ismail, Zaidi, Khusro, Hashim, Shaukat and others also quit PTI

F.P. Report

KARACHI / LAHORE/ ISLAMABAD / PESHAWAR: Former Sindh governor Imran Ismail on Saturday announced his departure from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) following his release from jail.

The PTI leader, condemning the May 9 protests that erupted after PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s arrest, spoke in support of the Pakistan Army and criticised the former ruling party’s anti-establishment tirade.

Addressing his “last political press conference”, Ismail said that his affiliation and ties with Khan were very good. He recalled the time when the PTI was formed, saying he was very young and was part of a group of three to four people who laid the party’s foundation.

“I always chased the dream of making Pakistan a better country and we got that chance when our party came into power in 2018. We decided to struggle and take part in the elections once again. We saw a lot of things from public rallies to attack Imran Khan but then we saw a diversion,” he added.

He said that a narrative started building that the PTI is against the Pakistan Army, which a lot of leaders were uncomfortable with. “A lot of people advised Imran Khan while many also spoke against it. We used a lot of names ‘Mr X’, ‘Dirty Harry’ and hence, the public had a perspective that the PTI is against the army,” he continued.

Speaking about the “evil” May 9 riots that erupted after the PTI chief’s arrest in the Al-Qadir Trust case, Ismail said that the attacks happened on the General Head Quarters (GHQ), Corps Commander House, and the memories of the martyrs. He said that whoever was a part of these attacks should be inquired — whether that person belongs to the PTI or not.

The former Sindh governor spoke in support of the army, saying that he was not a part of the riots and that the FIR against him was “baseless”.

“After giving it a lot of thought, I have decided to step down from all PTI positions. I am leaving PTI and I don’t know if I will continue to remain active in politics. Today, I say goodbye to Imran Khan and PTI,” he concluded. Another two diehard leaders of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf have turned their back on the party while also announcing quitting politics. An important PTI wicket has fallen as party’s Sindh President Ali Zaidi has announced to quit politics. The PTI leader from Sindh proclaimed in a video message on Saturday that he was parting ways with the party, saying that the Pakistan Army was our pride.

He said: “I condemn the May 9 violence. What happened wasn’t right. I resign from the post of PTI Sindh president. I have always served Pakistan.” The former federal minister said that after a lot of thinking he took the “difficult decision” of leaving politics. He said when he would leave the politics he would also resign from the party position and resign as an MNA.

He, however, expressed his resolve to serve Pakistan. He said he used to work for the betterment of Pakistan before and would bring investment to the country. “Now I Will again do the same business of export. I quit politics. I have nothing to do with politics. Pakistan Army Zindabad. Pakistan Zindabad,” he concluded.

Another Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader and former federal minister Khusro Bakhtyar has announced to quit the PTI. In a video message on Saturday, Khusro Bakhtyar said that a year ago he had told the top and frontline leadership of the party that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s new political plan of confrontation with state institutions would be harmful for the party. Bakhtyar said that due to this policy of the PTI, he distanced himself from the PTI politics. “I have also distanced myself from the membership of the core committee and the presidentship of the South Punjab,” he added.

The former federal minister said that the heart-wrenching events of May 9 had forced him to adopt aloofness from the political philosophy of the Tehreek-e-Insaf. “I can’t go on with this anymore. I am pretty sure that the future of Pakistan is not in the politics of division and partisanship,” the ex-minister concluded.

Six more Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders from Punjab on Saturday parted their ways with the party after condemning the May 9 attacks. Leaders include ex-provincial ministers Hashim Dogar, Rai Taimur Bhatti, Chaudhry Ikhlaq, and Samiullah, ex-TEVTA chairman Mamoon Tarar, and Sardar Mansab Ali Dogar. They announced the move at a press conference.

Hashim Dogar said May 9 could not be forgotten for life, adding that they condemned the attacks. “It was better if Mr Khan would have been taken a dig at his political opponents,” he added. “Pakistan army is our red line,” he said. He went on to say that they would formulate future strategy soon, adding that some other party members were also in contact with them. “Whoever was involved in May 9 attacks should be give an exemplary punishment,” he added.

He continued by saying that politicians should keep their politics to themselves, adding that they should remember sacrifices rendered by soldiers. “We should stay away from violence,” he added. Mr Dogar appealed the law-enforcement authorities to release innocent captives. Rai Taimur Bhatti said times came in politics that one had to choose politics and state, adding that they existed if the state existed. “If attacks like May 9 are not condemned, it will become a trend,” he added. “We have chosen state over politics,” he said.

Ch Ikhlaq a time had come when the nation had to choose between vested interests and the country, adding that May 9 attacks had been condemned. “May 9 attack is akin to Bangladesh tragedy for me,” he added. He went on to say that he would like to pay tribute to the army, adding that they would devise a strategy for future soon.
He started off by saying that he was not crying to leave the PTI, adding that May 9 attacks were actually worth crying. “A drop of soldier’s blood is more sacred than all politicians,” he added. He said it was a matter of concern for all of them, adding that they had not yet joined any other party.

“We are just quitting the PTI,” he added. Mr Mansab said he had joined the PTI two months ago, adding that it was not incumbent upon everyone what happened on May 9. “May 9 attacks jolted us,” he added. He went on to say that the army had protected the country since it came into being in 1948, adding that he could not understand the clash between politicians and the army. “People suffer in this fight and no one else,” he added.

Earlier, in a significant development, Jahangir Tareen, a disgruntled PTI leader. hinted at establishing a new political party. Sources familiar with the matter disclosed that Mr Tareen would assume the role of the party’s patron-in-chief, with several prominent dissident leaders of PTI, including Aleem Khan, joining his ranks. Reports suggest that Mr Tareen and his like-minded associates undertook initial preparations, while a party secretariat was established in Lahore.

PTI leader Murad Raas on Friday announced quitting the party as well as forming a group of like-minded people. Addressing a presser with Pir Ahmad Khagga, Raja Yawar Kamal and Chaudhry Adnan, he said May 9 attacks were highly condemnable, adding that it was never in plans. “I don’t know how things reached this point,” he added. He went on to say that more PTI leaders would follow suit in the coming days, adding that sometimes one had to take two steps back to move forward. “We joined the party to improve the situation of the country,” he added.