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‘Forced divorces’: Imran Khan reacts to party leaders’ departure

PTI chief also criticises rights organisations “over their silence on crackdown”

By Web Desk
May 23, 2023
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan. — AFP/File
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan. — AFP/File

As the departure of leaders from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has intensified following May 9 riots, party chief Imran Khan has described the trend as “forced divorce”.

"We had all heard about forced marriages in Pakistan but for PTI a new phenomenon has emerged, forced divorces," Khan — a former prime minister who faces a slew of cases ranging from corruption to terrorism — said in a tweet.

Khan’s statement came hours after PTI’s senior vice president Shireen Mazari and party leader Fayyazul Hassan Chohan announced quitting the former ruling party over May 9 vandalism.

The party's leaders have been announcing their departure as the PTI workers attacked not only public buildings but also military installations — including the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi.

The outgoing leaders have cited PTI's "policy of violence" as the reason behind their decision for leaving the party, with PTI claiming that they were under duress.

Apparently referring to the ongoing crackdown on party workers and supporters, the PTI chief said: "Also wondering where have all the human rights organisations in the country disappeared."

When the wickets began to fall recently, Khan said he sympathised with all those who were "under pressure" to leave the PTI — the party which ruled the country from 2018-2022.

"My sympathies go to all those who under pressure have been made to leave the party. And I commend and salute all the senior members who are resisting the extreme pressure to quit the party."

Not only have the senior leaders seen jail time since the May 9 violence but thousands of the party's workers have also been arrested in connection with the riots.

The army and the government have vowed that no leniency would be shown to the perpetrators who were involved in the attacks, with the military terming May 9 as "Black Day".

Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir has also said that the legal process of trial against planners, instigators, abettors and perpetrators involved in the May 9 mayhem has commenced under Pakistan Army Act and Official Secret Act as per existing and established legal procedures derived from the Constitution.

List of leaders who have left

  • Former federal minister Shireen Mazari
  • Former provincial minister Fayazul Hassan Chohan
  • Ex-MPA (Punjab) Abdul Razaq Khan Niazi
  • Ex-MPA (Punjab) Makhdoom Iftikharul Hassan Gillani
  • Ex-MPA (Punjab) Mian Jaleel Ahmed Sharaqpuri
  • Khawaja Qutab Fareed Koreja
  • Founding PTI member Aamer Mahmood Kiani,
  • Chaudhry Wajahat Hussain
  • Former federal minister Malik Amin Aslam
  • Former provincial minister Dr Hisham Inamullah Malik
  • PTI West Punjab President Faizullah Kamoka
  • Ex-PTI central deputy secretary general for Islamabad Dr Muhammad Amjad
  • PTI Sindh Vice President Mehmood Moulvi
  • PTI Karachi President Aftab Siddiqui
  • MPA (Sindh) Syed Zulfiqar Ali Shah
  • MNA Jai Parkash Ukrani
  • MPA (Sindh) Sanjay Gangwani
  • MPA (Sindh) Dr Imran Shah
  • In Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P),
  • Ex-KP govt spokesperson Ajmal Wazir
  • MNA Usman Tarakai
  • MNA Malik Jawad Hussain
  • Ex-provincial minister Mubeen Khilji