A political realignment: The politicians who have parted ways with Imran’s PTI since May 9

Shaukat Tarin's departure follows other adieus from notable figures like Fawad Chaudhry, Shireen Mazari, and Ali Zaidi.
Published November 9, 2023

In the wake of the May 9 riots, which erupted following the arrest of PTI Chairman Imran Khan and saw military installations vandalised, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has faced an exodus of prominent figures. Many have defected to other parties, formed breakaway factions, or even abandoned politics altogether.

Seven months into the crackdown on PTI, Dawn.com has compiled a list of the prominent leaders who have parted ways with the party following the events of May 9.

Please note this is not an exhaustive list and there are likely a number of politicians that we’ve missed.

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It is worth noting that former planning minister Asad Umar had resigned from his party positions without explicitly announcing his departure from the party. However, in a post on X on Nov 11, Umar announced he had “completely quit politics” and simultaneously resigned from the basic party membership.

Soon after May 9, Fawad Chaudhry had said at the time that he was “taking a break from politics”. He was, however, seen at the launch ceremony of the Jahangir Khan Tareen-led Istehkam-i-Pakistan Party (IPP) in June.

Since then Fawad has kept quiet on whether he is officially a part of the IPP.

Likewise, Mian Aslam Iqbal, who served as senior Punjab minister during the PTI tenure, has also reportedly quit the party. In a video statement released by his brother, he claimed that Iqbal is no longer affiliated with the PTI.

On Nov 19, former PTI Islamabad president Ali Nawaz Awan also re-emerged and announced joining the IPP. Contradicting this announcement, the PTI released a video in which Awan can be heard expressing outright support for the PTI and stating that any of his future appearance in a press conference should be viewed as compelled action.

In the midst of an ongoing exodus, another party leader Arbab Ghulam Rahim on Nov 30 announced his departure from the PTI, and joined the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) — a multi-party alliance in Sindh.

In a parallel development in early December, PTI Sindh leader Liaquat Ali Jatoi and former Punjab MPA Wasiq Qayyum Abbasi also chose to sever ties with the party. Abbasi, taking it a step further, declared his withdrawal from politics, while Jatoi joined the GDA.