In a significant blow to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), senior leaders Shireen Mazari and Fayyazul Chohan have announced their departure from the party following the May 9 mayhem. This latest setback adds to a growing list of leaders who have parted ways with the opposition party in the aftermath of the violent events.
Shireen Mazari, the former federal minister and close aide of party leader Imran Khan, expressed her condemnation of the May 9 vandalism during a press conference in the capital. The violent protests led to PTI supporters ransacking and setting fire to public and defense installations across the country. Mazari emphasized that she has always condemned any form of violence.
During her speech, Mazari revealed that she is not only leaving the party but also retiring from politics altogether. She cited her health and her responsibility towards her children and parents as her primary reasons for stepping away from the political arena. She also condemned the violence against state symbols such as the General Headquarters (GHQ), parliament, and the Supreme Court.
Mazari shared her personal ordeal, mentioning her daughter Imaan Mazari’s distress due to her repeated arrests. Mazari disclosed that she had submitted an affidavit to the Islamabad High Court (IHC), pledging not to participate in any future violent protests.
Following the May 9 unrest, several other PTI leaders and lawmakers, including Aamir Mehmood Kiani, Malik Amin Aslam, Mahmood Moulvi, and Aftab Siddiqui, have publicly denounced the attacks on state installations and announced their departure from the party.
In response to the defection of PTI leaders, Imran Khan claimed that they had been pressured into leaving the party. He expressed sympathy for those facing pressure and commended the senior members who resisted such pressure to remain in the party.
Since the violent events, the National Security Committee (NSC), comprising top civil and military leaders in Pakistan, has vowed to prosecute the individuals responsible for the mayhem under relevant laws, including the Army Act. As a result, thousands of party workers have been arrested across the country for their alleged involvement in the riots. Notably, party vice chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi and secretary general Asad Umar have remained in custody despite court orders for their release.
As the PTI grapples with the aftermath of the May 9 unrest and the departure of key leaders, the party faces a challenging period. The departure of Shireen Mazari and Fayyazul Chohan adds to the growing list of PTI members who have distanced themselves from the party. The implications of these departures and the ongoing legal proceedings against party members are likely to shape the political landscape in the coming months.