Former MPA Irum Azeem Farooque, who left the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) after party founder Altaf Hussain's August 22 diatribe last year, announced that she is joining the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Tuesday.
The announcement that she was joining the PTI came hours after disgruntled MNA Ayesha Gulalai said she was quitting the party amid a flurry of scathing allegations against PTI Chairman Imran Khan and other top party members.
Farooque took to Twitter to share the news, saying that the PTI leadership had been in touch with her for a few months. "Yes, today, I announce joining PTI," she tweeted.
Farooque, after her pronouncement, went live via Facebook, and said that before she came to Pakistan, she had been in touch with MQM-Pakistan leaders who had requested her to not tender her resignation directly to the Sindh Assembly speaker.
She described MQM leaders who had telephoned her, urging her to rejoin the party as "hypocrites", claiming they had been backbiting about her during party meetings.
"I was contacted by several parties, and have been observing various political parties for several days," she said.
The former MQM leader appeared to have reservations over Gulalai's allegations against the PTI leadership, as hours before her announcement, she tweeted: "Isn't Ayesha Gulalai the lady who was previously with PPP, then All-Pakistan Muslim League, and then PTI? Her serious allegations against Imran Khan should be investigated."
She also said: "If Ayesha Gulalai has major problems with the PTI leadership, has she resigned as yet ?"
During her Facebook live video, Farooque said, "As Gulalai has left the party, she should prove her allegations. And even if she is unable to do so, PTI members should not call her bad names, as the truth always prevails. Instead of levelling allegations, she should quit the party while telling the truth."
Farooque was elected on a reserved seat for women in the 2013 General Election. She headed the public relations wing of the MQM for years. Her family lives in the United States and she shuttles between Karachi and Houston frequently.
In Sep 2014, she announced she was quitting the MQM, citing the presence of groups in the party looking after their own interests. Weeks later, in Oct 2014, she had reconsidered her decision after Altaf Hussain assured her of action against opportunist elements within the party.
Subsequently, on Aug 22, Farooque disassociated herself from the party and resigned from her membership of the provincial assembly.
Born on Feb 5, 1967, Farooque graduated from PECHS College, Karachi. During her political career, she remained a member of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Cooperatives, the Standing Committee on Labour and Human Resources, and the Committee on Rules of Procedure and Privileges.
With additional reporting by Fahad Chaudhry.