ISLAMABAD/LAHORE - Desertions of politicians and lawmakers from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) continued yesterday when former parliamentarians Firdous Ashiq Awan, Murad Raas and Malik Qasim Khan Khattak among others announced to quit the party over the May 9 violent protests triggered across the country against the arrest of their party chief Imran Khan in a graft case.
Talking to media, Firdous Ashiq Awan said that she had decided to leave the party arguing PTI chief Imran Khan's agenda had become detrimental for the nation. "My politics centres around serving humanity," she said adding that "this was the reason I had joined the PTI”. “I took on a responsibility to work for the betterment of this country,” she continued.
But, she regretted that “while the national security agencies were continuing their fight against terrorism, some elements were misguiding then premier Imran Khan.”
Former Punjab education minister Murad Raas and PTI leader Murad Raas, while announcing to quit the party at a press conference here, said there could never be enough condemnation for what happened on May 9.
Other party officials like Pir Ahmad Khagga, Raja Yawar Kamal and Chaudhry Adnan accompanied him on the occasion.
Murad remarked, “We never anticipated we would cut ways with the party.”
He blamed Khan’s advisers for the party’s current situation, which has drawn harsh criticism and seen a number of leaders and hundreds of workers imprisoned around the nation as a result of the riots.
The former provincial minister said he did not believe in the politics of violence of the PTI.
Raas declared that he and the other lawmakers present at the news conference had made the decision to form a group in order to continue the work on Pakistan’s progress.
Another former PTI lawmaker from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Malik Qasim Khan Khattak, along with his supporters announced their resignation from the party.
He announced this decision at a press conference at the Peshawar Press Club along with PTI activists including Khalid Riaz Khattak, Nasreen Khattak, Farhad Khattak.
Qasim said that without any outside pressure, he and his colleagues had made the choice in the best interests of the country.
According to him, the violent incidents on May 9 were regrettable and shouldn’t have happened.
It may be mentioned here that several PTI leaders, including former lawmakers, have left the party after violent protests allegedly by the party workers on May 9 and 10, during which public and private properties, including national monuments, were damaged.
According to sources, senior PTI leader and former KP chief minister Pervez Khattak is also mulling to quit the party and exploring future space for him in different political parties. The sources told The Nation that Pervez Khattak in the recent massive arrest campaign against PTI leaders was spared due to his soft tone against the government and the establishment.
A senior source in Pakistan People’s Party said that Pervez Khattak has contacted them for negotiations to join the party.
The expression of interest by Pervez Khattak has been conveyed to the top leadership of PPP, the source said.
On the other hand Pervez Khattak is also in contact with Jahangir Khan Tareen who is in the process of forming a new version of PTI. The sources said Pervez Khattak and Tareen enjoy very close relations and it’s most likely that Pervez Khattak may join this new party on a senior position.
Jahangir Tareen on the other hand has become suddenly active and is inviting likeminded former MPAs of Punjab Assembly so that they may join his expected new party.
Jahangir Khan Tareen was disqualified by the apex court for life time during the PTI government for contesting any election of the national or provincial assembly.