No let-up in defections as several leaders exit PTI

Published May 29, 2023
This image shows former provincial lawmakers Malik Khurram Ali Khan and Dr Nadia Aziz on Sunday. — DawnNewsTV
This image shows former provincial lawmakers Malik Khurram Ali Khan and Dr Nadia Aziz on Sunday. — DawnNewsTV

ISLAMABAD/PESHAWAR: A number of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leaders on Sunday decided to part ways with the former ruling party in light of the May 9 violence that resulted in the destruction of public and private properties across the country.

Former provincial lawmakers Malik Khurram Ali Khan, Dr Nadia Aziz, Aghaz Ikramullah Gandapur, and Tariq Mehmoodul Hassan, a PTI leader based in London, were among the leaders who bid farewell to the PTI in the latest spate of defections.

Malik Khurram Ali Khan and Dr Nadia Aziz arrived at the National Press Club in Islamabad earlier in the day and announced their decision to quit the PTI. They said that they could not “tolerate attacks on army installations” that took place in the wake of Imran Khan’s arrest from the Islamabad High Court on May 9.

In his press conference, Malik Khurram said that the incidents of May 9 were “unacceptable” and added that Pakistan was “most important to him and his all stakes were linked” with the country.

Without naming anyone, he alleged those who advised “Imran Khan to attack military installations had already parted ways” with the party.

Similarly, Dr Nadia Aziz criticised the violence as she distanced herself from the protests. The former lawmaker said she was not a part of violent protests. It is likely that Dr Aziz would go back to the fold of the PPP.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, ex-lawmaker Aghaz Ikramullah Gandapur also quit the party in protest against violence which targeted the government and army installations on May 9.

Speaking at a press conference at the Peshawar Press Club, the former member of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly said despite suicide attacks on his father Ikramullah Gandapur on July 22, 2018, and uncle Israrullah Gandapur on October 16, 2013, in which both of them embraced martyrdom, he didn’t leave the party.

“However, it is beyond understanding that why monuments of the martyred were torched on May 9,” he said in reference to the riots. Being a Pakistani national, he could not tolerate attacks on military properties, as it was the “army which has protected the country”. He said that whoever was involved in the violence should be punished. The former lawmaker said he would contest the upcoming elections as an independent candidate.

In Sargodha, local leaders Muhammad Iqbal and traders’ wing head Mehr Mohsin Raza in separate news conferences resigned from the PTI and also decided to quit politics.

It may be noted that Mehr Mohsin secured pre-arrest bail from an anti-terrorism court a few days ago. He had been arrested by the police while coming out of the court. At the time, he pledged to continue supporting Imran Khan, saying the “imported government cannot deter him”.

Tariq Saeed in Toba Tek Singh and Sajjad Niazi in Sargodha also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, May 29th, 2023

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