KARACHI: Less than a week after winning the election on a Sindh Assembly seat in Karachi, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-backed independent candidate Ejaz Swati switched sides and announced on Wednesday joining the Pakistan Peoples Party.

Mr Swati had emerged victorious from PS-88 in district Malir. He is also the district president of the PTI.

In a video statement, the MPA-elect said that after winning the election, he had discussed the situation with his elders and people of the constituency and reached the decision to join the PPP for the sake of his constituents.

“I have decided to join the PPP for the development and prosperity of my constituency and its people,” he said. “I have made this decision unconditionally. I hope the PPP and its leadership would meet the promise and initiate development schemes and projects in my area. I would always remain committed to my cause of serving the people of my constituency.”

His announcement, however, attracted a strong reaction from PTI supporters who first took him on social media and accused him of being disloyal and betraying the party.

Then within a couple of hours his announcement, a large number of people gathered outside his house and staged a protest. Chanting slogans against him, they asked the MPA-elect, who was not home, to come out of his residence and “face the wrath of the people”.

The protest, area people said, continued for around 30 minutes. Later, the protesters dispersed peacefully.

Social media users shared some old videos of Mr Swati in which he pledged allegiance to former prime minister Imran Khan.

“I am a loyal and true solider of Imran Khan,” he said in one of the videos he posted on his X account after getting party ticket from PS-88. “I am the district president of PTI and have always stood firm with my chairman in thick and thin. I curse myself if I ever deceive or cheat my party and my chairman after winning the elections.”

Talking to Dawn, PTI-Karachi president Khurrum Sher Zaman showed a kind of helplessness “with such people who’re ready to sell their faith for vested interests”.

“What would you do and how would you stop people who can sell their faith, ideology and commitment for personal interests,” he asked.

Published in Dawn, February 15th, 2024

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