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'Khan's focus only on Punjab': Naz Baloch parts ways with PTI, joins PPP

Updated July 16, 2017

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Naz Baloch on Sunday announced her joining of the PPP, alleging that the PTI's focus is centred on Punjab and not Sindh, where she is from.

Baloch, a resident of Karachi and the daughter of prominent PPP leader Abdullah Baloch, made the announcement at a press conference in the metropolis alongside PPP's Faryal Talpur and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Shah.

"As a daughter and representative of Sindh, I feel that the PTI's focus is centred on Punjab. They are focused on the centre," she asserted.

"I performed my responsibilities in PTI under the leadership of Imran Khan. This is no secret."

"I don't wish to defame a party with whom I have had a good run," she said. "But the PTI, which championed the youth and called for change, has, itself, changed. This is not the dawn we wished to see."

"When Imran Khan comes to Karachi for his five or six-hour-long visits, he is kept away from party workers. This is done by the Karachi party leadership, and I raised my voice about it prominently while I was with PTI," she added.

"He [Khan] can attest to it himself that I have always called his attention towards giving more time to Karachi and Sindh. The workers are getting angry and leaving the party to join others," she said.

"The ideological worker is disappointed because today, the people standing to Imran Khan's left and right are neither the youth, nor do any of them speak up for Sindh."

In addition to the PTI being unable to deliver on its promise of representing the youth, the party is also sidelining its female members, alleged Baloch. "I have made complaints about what I feel is male chauvinism in the party; only men are present when it is time to make decisions. Women do not have the same access or representation in the decision-making committee," she said.

"Faryal Talpur has given the women of PPP respect, brought them into the decision-making process and kept them in the loop."

She requested Imran Khan to listen to the complaints of disgruntled workers "so that what is left of the party in Sindh remains intact."

The party's organisational structure in Karachi and Sindh has been damaged, as it appears that the PTI is playing musical chairs with only four people who have been consistently appointed president of Karachi and Sindh on a rotation basis, she said.

Explore: Old faces re-elected in PTI intra-party elections

Her journey with the PPP aims to take forward the ideology of Benazir Bhutto. "Bilawal Bhutto is truly representing the youth. He has made big sacrifices after his mother's death. And if he has returned to represent the people, then we should support him in his campaign and his struggle for Pakistan, and stand by him."

Everything I have done has been for Pakistan, Baloch said, adding that she would continue doing the same under the leadership of the PPP.

"It would not be wrong to say that I feel as if I have come home again," Baloch said of her return to the PPP.

Baloch contested the 2013 General Election from the NA-240 constituency as a PTI candidate.

Although her father is a high-ranking PPP member, she turned down the option of being a member of the family party to join the PTI ─ a move which surprised her father.

PPP defections

The move comes amidst a series of defections from the PPP to the PTI.

The PPP has been losing members to PTI in recent weeks as former stalwarts, such as former federal ministers Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Nazar Muhammad Gondal, Imtiaz Safdar Warraich and Nawabzada Ghazanfar Gul, have already bid adieu to their former parties.

Groupings within the party and local political issues are said to be the reasons behind the desertions.

Warraich, who served as minister of state for communication in the PPP government during 2008-13, was dejected when he was removed from the post of the president of the party’s central Punjab chapter for “failing to deliver”. His grievance deepened when Qamar Zaman Kaira from the rival party group was nominated as the central Punjab chapter chief.

Dr Awan also had complaints against Kaira when the PPP was in power as she had accused him of interfering in her ministry (of information and broadcasting). She, however, alleged that the party leadership has sacrificed “political interests of Punjab to save political interests of Sindh”, creating panic among PPP leaders in Punjab.