ISLAMABAD: In a big blow to the PTI, the party’s provincial president Pervez Khattak appeared before the media on Thursday night and announced he was resigning his party position.

A PTI representative, wishing not to be quoted, claimed that former National Assembly speaker Asad Qaiser was also “forced” to attend the presser, but he made it clear that he would not quit the party.

He claimed that Mr Khattak, a former federal minister, had only resigned as PTI president of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, just like Asad Umar, and will remain part of the party.

Earlier, arrangements were made at the National Press Club (NPC) for a news conference and it was being speculated that Mr Khattak and Mr Qaiser — both members of the seven-member committee formed by PTI chief Imran Khan to hold negotiations with the government — will announce quitting the embattled party.

However, later the video of a press conference was shared which was arranged at a private residence located on Street 84, Embassy Road, Islamabad, where Mr Khattak appeared before the media and in a talk, which lasted less than a minute, confirmed his resignation from the PTI.

Mr Qaiser did not say a single word and went away. So it could not be confirmed if he had decided to quit the party or he was “made” to sit there.

However, a representative of PTI, wishing not to be quoted, said that Asad Qaiser, while he was going out of residence, asserted that he will not quit the party. He said that Pervez Khattak had only resigned the party position and will remain in the PTI.

Pervez Khattak, who also served as defence minister during the tenure of PTI, said that no one was happy with May 9 violence.

The arrest of Imran Khan by National Accountability Bureau on May 9 triggered riots across the country and protesters attacked military installations. Since then thousands of protesters, involved in the attacks, have been arrested and around 100 leaders of the PTI have announced quitting the party.

Pervez Khattak said that whatever happened was wrong and prayed that such incidents would never be repeated in Pakistan.

“I was watching the political situation for the last many days and decided to resign from party position after analysing all the aspects. The incident of May 9 was condemnable and I have already condemned the attacks,” he said.

He said the political situation was worst and it was impossible to cope with it. He said he would announce the future strategy after discussing with his friends.

Published in Dawn, June 2nd, 2023

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