Sardar Usman Buzdar
Sardar Usman Buzdar

QUETTA: Sardar Usman Buzdar became the latest Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader to quit the party as well as active politics in light of the May 9 violence.

Speaking at a hurriedly-called news conference at Quetta Press Club on Friday, the former Punjab chief minister announced his decision to part ways with the PTI and retire from politics. He strongly condemned the violent incidents and attacks on state institutions across the country on May 9 following the arrest of PTI chief Imran Khan.

A notice displayed on the press club’s notice board stated that an important tribal leader will address a news conference, but no name was mentioned. And then Usman Buzdar suddenly appeared in the conference hall to address the media.

“I strongly condemn the violent incidents that took place on May 9 in the country and there will be no citizen who will not deplore these incidents in which national institutions were attacked,” he said.

Mr Buzdar, who was appointed chief minister by Imran Khan despite opposition from senior party leaders, announced his full support for the army. “I’m standing by Pakistan Army and will continue to do so in future,” he said, adding that he decided to take a break from politics for some time in the current circumstances.

Usman Buzdar, whom Imran Khan considered more intelligent and loyal to him than his team’s 92 World Cup fast bowler Wasim Akram, said he had served the people of Punjab with sincerity and good intention. “I have been facing many cases for the last 14 months and I’m not active in politics.”

Replying to a question, he said the authorities should adopt a lenient attitude towards the innocent people who have been arrested by the police after the May 9 incidents. “The people who were not involved in those incidents should be released without any delay,” he appealed.

“May Allah protect all of us,” the former Punjab CM prayed before leaving the conference hall without taking any questions from journalists

PTI Sindh head

Just a week after his close aide and PTI’s Sindh chapter president Ali Zaidi announced quitting the party over “difference of opinion”, Imran Khan on Friday appointed Haleem Adil Sheikh for the office.

PTI secretary general Omar Ayub Khan issued the notification about Mr Sheikh’s appointment as the party’s Sindh president.

In a video message minutes after his appointment, Haleem Adil Sheikh, who is Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly, thanked the PTI chairman for posing trust in him and vowed that he would not “disappoint” the party leadership and workers.

He also condemned the May 9 violence, saying the party and its workers had always showed great respect for the armed forces and they were wrongly labeled as “traitors and anti-army elements”.

“How can we weaken our army as Pakistanis? We can’t even imagine about it. I appeal to my workers to stay firm, as this shall too pass. I would do my best for my arrested workers in Karachi and other parts of Sindh by arranging legal and financial aids for their early release,” he added.

Only last week, Ali Zaidi and former Sindh governor Imran Ismail had announced quitting the party, condemning the May 9 violence.

Imran Ayub in Karachi also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, June 3rd, 2023

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