More leaders bid farewell to Imran

Arshad Yousafzai & Mumtaz Alvi
Sunday, May 28, 2023

KARACHI/ ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: Saturday was yet another bad day for former premier Imran Khan when dozens more of his party leaders and former parliamentarians announced parting ways with him.

Prominent among them were former Sindh governor Imran Ismail, party’s Sindh President Ali Haider Zaidi, former MNA Raja Khurram Nawaz, former Punjab home minister Colonel (retd) Hashim Dogar, former provincial minister for energy Dr Akhtar Malik, ex-MPA Mian Tariq Abdullah, who all announced to quit the party.

Founding member of PTI and former Sindh governor Imran Ismail made the announcement following his release from jail, where he had been held for the last several days. Expressing his support for the Pakistan Army, he condemned the anti-establishment rhetoric of the former ruling party.

Speaking at what he called his “final political press conference”, Ismail reminisced about his strong bond with PTI Chairman Imran Khan, highlighting their instrumental roles in laying the party’s foundation. However, he expressed concern over the party being labelled as anti-army and disapproved of the narrative that had taken shape.

The former governor strongly denounced the violent protests that unfolded after Imran Khan’s arrest and called for a thorough inquiry into those responsible, regardless of their party affiliations.

Ismail made it clear that he stood in solidarity with the army and distanced himself from involvement in the riots. He declared his decision to step down from all PTI positions and bid farewell to both Imran Khan and the party.

Earlier Saturday, an anti-terrorist court ordered the release of Imran Ismail after the police submitted a report declaring him innocent in the case related to the May 9 vandalism and riots on Sharae Faisal. The court granted his release upon providing surety bonds worth Rs50,000.

In a separate development, Ali Zaidi, former Sindh president of PTI, also followed suit and announced dissociation from politics and relinquished his party positions. Zaidi, in a video message, condemned the events of May 9 and highlighted the significance of the armed forces in protecting the nation’s borders. He called for a thorough investigation and accountability of all those involved. Zaidi’s decision to exit the political arena was a result of “careful contemplation and reflection”.

In another setback, PTI leader Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiyar made the announcement on Saturday about parting ways with the former ruling party. He said that a year ago, he had told the top and frontline leadership of the party that the PTI’s new political plan of confrontation with national institutions would be harmful for the party. “I have distanced myself from party’s politics because of this policy,” he said, adding that he had also distanced himself from the membership of the core committee and the presidency of south Punjab.

The former federal minister said, “The heart-wrenching events of May 9 have forced me to distance myself from the political philosophy of the PTI”.

There were many more who announced quitting the PTI in the federal capital and Punjab. Former MNA Raja Khurram Nawaz announced his decision to quit the party during a news conference. He said he had decided to withdraw from politics after consulting the people of his constituency. He called for action against those involved in the incidents of May 9 and those innocent arrested in the aftermath of the incidents should be released.

At another press conference in Islamabad, along with former MPA Mian Tariq Abdullah, Fakhar Zaman and other colleagues, former Punjab Minister for Energy Dr Akhtar Malik announced leaving the PTI as well as politics. “I do not have words to say anything more nor my restraint is enough that I can absorb some things,” he remarked. Mian Tariq Abdullah also announced quitting the PTI and said that May 9 was the darkest day in the history of Pakistan.

Former Punjab home minister Col (retd) Hashim Dogar also announced leaving the PTI, condemning the violent protests of May 9. Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, he said after the events of May 9, it had become difficult for him and his friends to go along with the PTI’s narrative. “We are separating our struggle from PTI, but we are not leaving politics,” he made it clear.

Here is the province-wise breakdown of PTI leaders who have parted ways with the deposed prime minister:

Islamabad: Raja Khurram Nawaz.

Punjab: Senior vice president Fawad Chaudhry; Senior vice president Shireen Mazari; former provincial minister Fayazul Hassan Chohan; ex-MPA Abdul Razaq Khan Niazi; ex-MPA Makhdoom Iftikharul Hassan Gillani; ex-MPA Mian Jaleel Ahmed Sharaqpuri; ex-MNA Khawaja Qutab Fareed Koreja; founding member Aamer Mahmood Kiani; Chaudhry Wajahat Hussain; former federal minister Malik Amin Aslam; PTI West Punjab President Faizullah Kamoka; former PTI central deputy secretary general for Islamabad Dr Muhammad Amjad; Additional secretary general south Punjab Malik Asif Awan; ex-MPA Jalil Sharqpuri; ex-MPA Syed Saeedul Hassan; ex-MPA Saleem Akhtar Labar; MNA Chaudhry Hussain Elahi; ticket holder (PP-247) Chaudhry Ehsanul Haq; ticket holder (PP-248) Dr Mohammad Afzal; ticket holder (PP-257) Chaudhary Jehanzeb Rasheed; ex-MPA Zaheeruddin Khan Alizai; ex-MPA Aun Dogar; ex-MPA Abdul Hai Dasti; ex-MPA Malik Mujtaba Niaz Gishkori; ex-MPA Alamdar Husain Qureshi; ex-MPA Sajjad Hussain Cheena; ex-MPA Sardar Qaisar Abbas Khan Magsi; ex-MPA Ashraf Rind; ex-MPA Javed Ansari; ex-MNA Maleeka Ali Bokhari; ex-MPA Javed Akhtar Ansari; ex-MPA Ahsan Saleem Baryar; Muhammad Saleem Baryar; ex-MPA Ansir Iqbal Baryar; President PTI Gujranwala Khalid Aziz Lone; ex-MPA Mian Mumtaz Ahmad Maharwi; ex-MPA Asif Manzoor; Jamshed Iqbal Cheema; ex-MPA Musarrat Jamshed Cheema; ex-MPA Ayaz Khan Niazi; ex-MPA Malik Akram Kanhon; ex-MPA Murad Raas; ex-MPA Pir Ahmad Khagga; ex-MPA Raja Yawar Kamal; ex-MPA Chaudhry Muhammad Adnan; Abrar-ul-Haq; Senator leader Saifullah Niazi; ex-MNA Khurram Shahzad; ex-MPA Mian Ahsan Ansar Bhatti; Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan; ex-MPA Muhammad Waris Aziz; ex-MNA Khusro Bakhtiar; ex-MPA Ahmad Shah Khagga; ex-MPA Hashim Dogar.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: Former provincial minister Dr Hisham Inamullah Malik; ex-KP government spokesperson Ajmal Wazir; former advisor to chief minister Malik Qasim Khan Khattak; MNA Usman Tarakai; MNA Malik Jawad Hussain; ex-KP minister Muhammad Iqbal Wazir; ex-MPA Nadia Sher; district leader Malik Qayyum Hissam; ex-MPA Nadia Sher Ali; ex-MPA Haider Ali Khan.

Sindh: Sindh President Ali Zaidi; MPA Bilal Ghaffar; MNA Jay Prakash; Sindh MPA Omar Omari; PTI Sindh Vice President Mehmood Moulvi; PTI Karachi President Aftab Siddiqui; MPA Syed Zulfiqar Ali Shah; MPA Sanjay Gangwani; MPA Dr Imran Shah; District President Khairpur Syed Ghulam Shah; ex-MPA Karim Bakhsh Gabol; MPA Imran Ali Shah; ex-MNA Syma Nadeem; MPA Muhammad Abbas Jafri; Rabia Azfar Nizami; former governor Imran Ismail.

Balochistan: Ex-provincial minister Mubeen Khilji; Senator Mohammad Abdul Qadir