In a major blow to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Sunday, two more leaders of the former ruling party — Usman Tarakai from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Aftab Hussain Siddiqui, the party’s president for Karachi — announced that they are parting ways with the party in protest of the vandalism across the country following the arrest of party chairman Imran Khan on May 9.
The resignations follow announcements from several leaders of quitting the opposition party, citing their differences with the PTI’s stance against the country’s military.
Siddiqui announced his decision in a video message, stating that he has also distanced himself from politics.
“I have quit politics and resigned from all positions, including the post of President PTI Karachi and the National Assembly seat,” the former PTI Karachi president said in the video message.
The former PTI leader said that he wants to serve the country in a different capacity now as a businessman. He said that he has parted ways with PTI chief Imran Khan by saying “Pakistan Zindabad” and declared that he no longer has any affiliation with politics.
Meanwhile, Usman Tarakai, who was elected as a member of the National Assembly from Swabi, also announced his departure from the PTI, stating that he cannot continue with the party after the events of May 9.
Tarakai announced that he is resigning from the party’s basic membership.
“What happened on May 9 was a disrespect to the martyrs’ memorial. I belong to the same village from where Captain Colonel Sher Khan hailed, and we even held a rally in his honor,” Usman stated.
The leader said that he joined PTI in 2015 when Imran Khan used to talk about justice.
“I stood with Imran Khan till the end. Although I had the option to contest independently without PTI’s ticket, my path was obstructed. The influence of Pervez Khattak and Asad Qaiser grew in the party. When we raised our voices, I was given a show cause notice and removed from my party position,” he said.
Usman said that he will make a decision on whether he would join another party or not after consulting with the people of his constituency.
On this occasion, former PTI leader Buland Khan Tarakai said, “We have no affiliation with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf anymore. Imran Khan only speaks for himself. During the PTI era, my house was attacked. I fought for justice during the PTI tenure”.
He further said that Colonel Sher Khan, the martyr, was the pride of the nation, condemning the damage done to his statue.
Usman Tarakai becomes the latest PTI leader to quit the party. Earlier, Mahmood Moulvi, Aamir Kiyani, Karim Bux Gabol, Sanjay Gangwani and Malik Amin Aslam had announced leaving PTI.
In his reaction to the reports of leaders leaving PTI, Imran Khan responded on Twitter: “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.”
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.
The nation will always remember them for standing up for Haqeeqi Azaadi.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) May 18, 2023
The resignations from the key figures follow the National Security Committee’s (NSC) endorsement of the Corps Commander Conference’s decision to try the perpetrators of the violent attacks under the Army Act and Official Secrets Act.
In a strong rebuke of the politically motivated arson attacks, the NSC declared May 9 a ‘Black Day’ at a national level.
In a recent Special Corps Commanders’ Conference chaired by Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir, the military’s top commanders firmly resolved to hold the abettors, planners, and miscreants involved in attacks on military and public property accountable under the Army Act and the Official Secret Act.