ISLAMABAD: At least seven more leaders of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) appeared before the media in different cities on Monday to announce quitting the party.
All of them cited May 9 attacks on civil and military installations as the reason behind their decision. The fresh defectors, who surfaced in Islamabad, Karachi, Faisalabad and Jhang, include legislators, a ticket holder and office bearers.
Addressing a press conference at National Press Club, Islamabad, Senior Vice President of Women Wing in Punjab Kaneez Fatima said she was part of PTI since 2010 and made all possible efforts for the progress and popularity of the party.
Ms Fatima said she was shocked to see attacks on the military installations as no Pakistani could ever support such heinous crime.
“I am quitting PTI and also the politics. So I resign from all the party positions. I have decided to give time to my family,” she said.
In reply to a question, she said no one had forced her to take the decision.
Irshad Khan, a leader of PTI in Swabi, at a separate presser at the National Press Club, condemned the May 9 incidents and said he never became part of “abusive language” used by the party.
“Previously, I was in Awami National Party and since I left ANP I never used abusive language against any leader of my former party and that is why people in ANP have a great regard for me,” he said.
Irshad Khan said he was quitting the PTI position as he never believed in such attitude.
In Faisalabad, two former PTI MPAs from Faisalabad — Chaudhry Ali Akhtar and Shakil Shahid — and provincial assembly ticket holder Hafiz Muhammad Ehtisham held a joint news conference to announce they were no longer part of the party.
They condemned attacks on army installations and desecration of the images of martyrs and demanded punishment for all those PTI activists who were involved in those incidents.
Chaudhry Akhtar is brother of former provincial minister Chaudhry Zaheeruddin. Both were in PML-Q and had joined PTI along with former chief minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi.
The two brothers have a transport company and own a bus and van terminal. Sources claimed that the Faisalabad Municipal Corporation issued a notice to their terminal for the payment of bus stand conversion fee of more than Rs30 million two days ago.
A former MPA from Jhang, Rashida Yaqub Sheikh told a press conference said was disappointed by the activities of PTI supporters who attacked the Jinnah House at Lahore and other military installations, and decided to part ways with the party.
In Karachi, MNA Muhammad Aslam Khan announced resigning from the National Assembly while condemning the May 9 violent protests.
“After the recent situation which emerged over the past couple of weeks, I announce my disassociation with the PTI but will keep working for my country,” he said while addressing a press conference at the Karachi Press Club.
Senators blast vandalism
In a separate development, several PTI senators condemned attacks on military installations with one lawmaker moving a condemnation resolution in the Senate over the issue.
Later, while addressing a presser at the Parliament House, the lawmakers severely criticised arson and vandalism on civil and military installations following the arrest of PTI chief Imran Khan.
PTI Senator Faisal Saleem Rehman submitted a resolution with the Senate Secretariat that says that “the House strongly condemns the violent attacks on 9th May, 2023 at the GHQ, and Jinnah House, where the Lahore Corps Commander resides, [which] was also set on fire”.
“The House extends its unwavering support and shows solidarity with our armed forces and security agencies and the public at large who are affected by these events,” reads the resolution.
At the presser, Senator Rehman said they were really ashamed of the harm done as the country belonged to them.
Senator Mohammad Humayun Mohmand said all lawmakers condemned the May 9 violence and what happened on the day was really sad. At the same time, he also criticised the PDM for unnecessarily blaming PTI for the violence and referred to Memogate and Dawn Leaks, saying those scandals were unearthed when PPP and PML-N were in power, respectively.
Dr Zarqa Suharwardy Taimur, Seemee Ezdi and Falak Naz also spoke.
Ikram Junaidi in Islamabad, Tariq Saeed in Toba Tek Singh and Imran Ayub in Karachi contributed to this report
Published in Dawn, May 30th, 2023