Weeks after resigning as a senator, PPP leader Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar announced on Friday that he decided to quit the party.
He confirmed his decision to leave the PPP while speaking to Dawn.com.
Separately, in an interview on Geo News show ‘Naya Pakistan’, Khokhar elaborated on his reasons for leaving the party.
He said that he had a good run with the party but to continue further “is compromising on my self-respect”. However, he refused to provide any specifics, saying it was no use delving into the past.
Talking about the reason for resigning as a senator, he said that the PPP leadership could provide a better answer. He said he suspected that the positions he took on certain issues were not well-received by the party.
“That is why maybe some people in the party may have questioned him (PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari) so he may not have liked it and he thought it felt appropriate to ask for my resignation.”
He said that PPP Senator Farooq Naek had called on him and relayed the party’s instructions seeking his resignation.
Khokhar further said that he was not “disappointed” with how the events unfolded. “My heart is content over the positions I took and I will raise my voice and will not compromise on my independent thinking if there are more issues in the future.”
He said that political parties needed to give space for criticism. If there is no room for dialogue, then they become less like political parties and more like fiefdoms, he said.
Asked why the PPP would have a problem with his political takes, Khokhar said that the establishment’s influence in the country’s domestic politics had grown with each decade.
“Before, there was a debate on boundaries not being crossed. But then we saw parties taking decisions which they thought would be liked by them (establishment).”
When asked about his thoughts on the incumbent coalition government, the former senator said: “Hybrid regime 2.0 — absolutely. The kind of decisions being taken since Shehbaz Sharif was made the prime minister, those decisions were maybe not even taken in Imran Khan’s time.”
After the PTI government’s tenure, the current government “should’ve responded to Imran Khan’s wrongs in a democratic manner. Today we have pushed the country back to the 90s. If Imran Khan comes back in power, then he will want to take revenge,” he said.
Continuing his line of thought, he said the current government was in the wrong. “See, there are many things in Islamabad that we can’t discuss on TV. What is happening with Azam Swati? Why is Ali Wazir still in jail? He is not a politician’s prisoner.”
He condemned the victimisation of politicians, saying the government had become a “mouthpiece” and was taking ownership of such actions. “Amid the bitterness of today’s political atmosphere, we have become a spokesperson and are taking ownership of all those things which we perhaps are not even related to.”
Khokhar also held political instability responsible for the country’s economic woes, adding that “fresh elections were the only solution”.
“We are politicians, what fear do we have of going among people? They (the government) fear that if elections happen then Imran Khan will win.
“There is no other solution except for fresh elections. The economy is the biggest challenge, you have to fix it. The government can’t take the decisions which our economy needs,” he said.
Khokhar had formally resigned as a senator on November 10, two days after announcing plans to vacate his seat in the upper house of parliament.
At the time, he said a senior party leader had conveyed the leadership’s unhappiness with his “political positions”. He further said that as a political worker, he cherished the right to express his opinions on matters of public interest.
In December 2020, Khokhar had resigned as the official spokesperson for Bilawal but stated that he would continue to be a part of the PPP.
He had said he would be able to comment and express his thoughts more freely, without any compulsions and responsibility that came with the position of spokesperson of a party head.