Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders Shireen Mazari and Fayyazul Chohan announced quitting the Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in a major setback to the top opposition party which has seen a slew of leaders parted ways with it following the May 9 violence.
The development came as the senior vice president of the former ruling party had been arrested several times during the past few days following the May 9 riots triggered by the arrest of the former prime minister in the Al-Qadir Trust case.
Earlier, she was re-arrested once again after the Gujranwala court approved her bail in a case related to the vandalism and attacks on defence and public installations including Lahore Corps Commander’s House and the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi during the violent protests.
Addressing a press conference in the federal capital, Mazari — the former federal minister and close aide of Khan — condemned the May 9 vandalism during which PTI supporters ransacked and torched public and defence installations across the country.
“I strongly condemn the May 9 violence. I have always condemned the violence of any kind,” she remarked.
Mazari said she is not only leaving her party but also politics. “From today onwards, I am not a part of any political party.”
The senior PTI leader also said her health deteriorated during the last 12 days of the detention.
“My children and parents are [now] my priority,” she remarked.
“I condemn violence against state symbols like the GHQ, parliament and the Supreme Court,” she added.
Sharing her ordeal, Mazari said her daughter, Imaan Mazari, had to go through a tough time due to her repeated arrests. “When I was taken to jail for the third time, my daughter was crying a lot, I saw her video.”
The seasoned politician went on to say that she had also submitted an affidavit to the Islamabad High Court (IHC) pledging that she would not become a part of any violent protest in future.
Since the May 9 mayhem, many PTI leaders and lawmakers — including Aamir Mehmood Kiani, Malik Amin Aslam, Mahmood Moulvi and Aftab Siddiqui among others — have publicly denounced the attacks on the state installations and announced leaving the party.
Reacting to the PTI leaders’ defection, Imran Khan has claimed that they had been pressurised into leaving the party.
“My sympathies go to all those who are under pressure and 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,” Khan wrote on his official Twitter handle last week.
Following the May 9 vandalism, the high-powered National Security Committee (NSC), comprising top civil and military leadership of the country, vowed to try the miscreants under relevant laws of the country including the Army Act.
Subsequently, thousands of party workers have been arrested across the country over their alleged involvement in the May 9 riots with top leadership including party’s vice chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi and secretary general Asad Umar remained behind bars despite court ordering their release.