ISLAMABAD, June 5: Fauzia Kasuri, known as a vocal spokesperson for the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), announced on Wednesday her decision to quit the party.
Speaking at a press conference at the National Press Club, she alleged that mafias and lobbies had taken over the party. “This is not the party that used to talk of giving people their rights,” she said.
Ms Kasuri criticised the top management of the party for being corrupt, biased and filled with nepotism, but she was all praise for the party leader, Imran Khan.
“Imran Khan gave us hope and courage to work for change. He is a great leader and he has always spoken of righteousness, change for good and eradicating poverty,” she said. But now Mr Khan was surrounded by crooked politicians, she added.
“Tehreek-i-Insaf has not given me insaf (justice). I am not leaving the party, but the PTI has left me.” Ms Kasuri had renounced her US citizenship in the hope of becoming a parliamentarian, but she did not get elected on a seat reserved for women.
She said: “I submitted my passport to the US consulate, Lahore, on March 22, but the party did not place my name higher on the list of candidates who were to become MNAs on seats reserved for women. I was also not allowed to contest intra-party elections.”
She said former Sindh PTI president Naeemul Haq had severe differences with diehard worker and Sindh PTI vice-president Zahra Shahid Hussain and he wanted to remove her form the post, but “I intervened and her removal was not allowed”.
Ms Kasuri said she had no knowledge of who killed Zahra and why. Ms Hussain was shot dead in Karachi on May 18.
She criticised PTI’s election commissioner Hamid Khan for not allowing her to contest the party elections. The election commission had never held fair and transparent intra-party elections, she said.
Ms Kasuri alleged that the commissioner allowed Rana Maqbool of Rahimyar Khan and Atif Chaudhry, Ajmal Sabir Raja and Haroon Hashmi of Rawalpindi, who held dual nationality, to contest the general elections and they were disqualified causing damage to the party.
She criticised the hierarchy of the party for not conducting audit of donations. “Whenever I talked about the issue, Saifullah Khan Niazi, who was in charge of the accounts, got upset and annoyed,” she added.
“I have been collecting donations for the Shaukat Khanum Hospital for 22 years and I was with the party for almost 18 years.
There was no woman in the party at the time.”
She said Munaza Hassan had joined the PTI just five years ago and left the country to live in Canada. Now she had been chosen to be an MNA on a reserved seat.
“You all know about the conduct of Dr Shireen Mehrunnisa Mazari. She has been moving in and out of the party.”
She said Imran Khan talked to her by phone on Wednesday and asked her not to leave the party.
“He told me that the party has an important assignment for me in the KP (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), but I told him that there is not much for me in the party now,” she said.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the PTI said it was incorrect that Ms Kasuri’s name was not on the list of party’s candidates for reserved seats. Her name was fourth on the priority list, he said.
He said the intra-party elections were held on March 21 and Ms Kasuri relinquished her US citizenship the next day.
“We respect Ms Kasuri and consider her our party’s asset and efforts are being made to persuade her not to leave the party,” he added.