The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Wednesday issued a "legal notice" to former party member Ayesha Gulalai, demanding she apologise for her allegations against PTI Chairman Imran Khan a day earlier and resign from the National Assembly, or pay Rs30 million in damages to the aggrieved parties.
The legal notice was served by Advocate Ahsan Jawed on behalf of the party's central media coordinator Jawed Bader.
The notice presents two options to Gulalai ─ to either tender an "unconditional apology" to Khan and the PTI for her "baseless and indecent allegations" in a press conference, or to pay "Rs30m as compensation on account of damage to repute, causing mental torture, agony and endangering the party's future and policies,".
The 'legal notice' was followed by show-cause notice issued by the PTI, who suspended her party membership over alleged violation of party rules and discipline.
The notice, issued by PTI General Secretary Jahangir Tareen, demanded Gulalai respond within seven days to alleged misconduct and breach of party discipline.
PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry at a press conference today announced that the party had issued a 'legal notice' to Gulalai.
Chaudhry said that since Gulalai had accused the party of moral and financial corruption, she should no longer remain on the NA seat on PTI's ticket. He added that if she failed to resign, the party would request the Election Commission of Pakistan to denotify her.
"We know that she [Gulalai] met Amir Muqam a day before [she held the press conference]," Chaudhry maintained, implying that she was in talks with PML-N.
Gulalai, however, had denied that she would be joining the PML-N in a press conference on Tuesday night, in which she levelled a series of scathing allegations against Imran Khan and other top party members.
Initially citing 'ill-treatment' of women in the party as the reason behind her decision to quit the PTI, Gulalai went on to allege that she had received 'inappropriate' text messages from party leadership, and accused certain members of the party of involvement in corrupt practices.
Another party member, Alia Hamza, angered over Gulalai's allegations, maintained that Imran Khan had never disrespected her or any other female party member.
"Our party is called the women's party," Hamza claimed. "With her accusations, she has not insulted Mr Khan — she has insulted us [women]."
In an angry tirade, Hamza asked why Gulalai had remained in the party for four years if she was facing harassment, and accused her of ruining politics for women for personal gains.
"You weren't even part of the core committee, yet you sat on the stage with party leaders during the [thanksgiving celebrations]," she said. "Imran Khan and the party gave you immense respect," she claimed.
PTI's Yasmin Rashid, who will be contesting the NA-120 by-poll against Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, also said that she was extremely hurt by Gulalai's allegations. She added that if the party did not respect women, she would not have remained a member for seven years.
"If Mr Khan had no respect for women, he would not have nominated me for the PTI's main party [Punjab wing] general secretary," she said.
"Although there is a greater number of men in our party, I, as a woman, was elected during the intra-party election, which just goes to show how much our party respects women," she claimed.
She also claimed that although many people pressured the PTI chairman to nominate someone else to contest the 2013 General Election from the NA-120 constituency, Khan remained adamant that she remain the party's candidate for the seat.
"He said, 'This is Yasmin's seat, and she will be the party candidate from this sector.'," she claimed. "I felt honoured. If my party had not supported me, I would not have gotten 52,000 votes."
She added that for the upcoming NA-120 by-poll, she had been nominated by Khan despite there being a number of male candidates who could have competed for the seat instead of her.
'PML-N is an illegal party'
Fawad Chaudhry, in today's press conference, also accused Maryam Nawaz Sharif of receiving Rs88 million overnight. He demanded that the Hudaibiya Papers case be reopened, alleging that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was responsible for closing both, the Hudaibiya Papers case, as well a Rs 200 billion corruption reference against the newly-elected prime minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, over a liquefied natural gas contract.
"If the case is not reopened, we will be forced to go to the Supreme Court again," he warned.
He said that both the PTI and PML-N want the Panamagate joint investigation team (JIT) to release the video recordings of its questioning of individuals linked to the case. He added that the Supreme Court, JIT or NAB should not have any objections to this demand.
Chaudhry asked the PML-N to explain why it had withdrawn its earlier demand for the contents of Volume X of the JIT report to be made public.
"The PML-N insisted that the contents of Volume X of the JIT report must be made public but once their lawyer read it, they did not repeat their demand," he claimed. "The public wants to know why they withdrew their demand."
Chaudhry also criticised Nawaz Sharif for retaining his position as PML-N's party head even after his ouster as prime minister, saying that this was against the Supreme Court verdict in the Panama Papers case.
"According to the Political Parties Act, anyone who is ineligible to contest an MNA (member of National Assembly) election cannot head a political party," he claimed. "We are surprised that the ECP has not denotified Nawaz Sharif as head of the PML-N."
He added that the PML-N is an "illegal" party since its head has been disqualified and is not eligible to hold political office any longer. He urged the ECP to denotify Sharif from his position as party chief so that the PML-N could choose a new leader.
Chaudhry also objected to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi's failure to appoint a new cabinet. He said that Abbasi's meeting with Sharif raised questions over who will really call the shots in the new government.
The PTI chief held a meeting of the party leadership at Banigala to discuss the situation as well as the party's strategy against the PML-N going forward.