LAHORE: PTI Chairman Imran Khan has cancelled the basic membership of all leaders and office-bearers who had quit the party during the past few days.
Although several leaders have parted ways with PTI in the fallout of the May 9 violence, the most notable among them were senior vice president Fawad Chaudhry, former federal ministers Shireen Mazari, Aamer Mehmood Kiani and former adviser to PM Malik Amin Aslam.
It is not yet clear whether the PTI chief has revoked the membership of Asad Umar, who had stepped down as secretary general and a member of the core committee but had not quit the party altogether.
Mr Khan also ordered the removal of defectors who were part of the party’s core committee. They will no longer be part of PTI’s WhatsApp groups and the social media accounts will be updated to modify the references of the defectors.
Separately, in a statement on Thursday, the PTI chairman said his party’s leaders and workers were “facing the full force of state terror”.
The statement was released to mark one year since the PTI workers clashed with the police during the long march towards Islamabad.
He said the events of May 25, 2022 “commenced our descent into fascism”.
Mr Khan recalled that while he was in power, the PDM parties — who were then in the opposition — held three long marches which “were allowed without any” hindrance by his government.
“[But] we faced the full force of state terror,” Mr Khan said as he recalled the crackdown on his party’s leadership before the march.
“Houses broken in the middle of the night and PTI office-bearers and workers kidnapped. And then whoever got to Islamabad faced tear gas, rubber bullets and police brutality,” he said in a tweet.
The PTI chief said that last year’s events were “just the beginning” and today “the only federal party is facing the full fury of state power without any accountability”.
“Over 10,000 PTI workers and supporters in jail including senior leadership and some facing custodial torture.”
He reiterated that the May 9 violence was “condemned by the entire PTI leadership” but the state was using arson as a pretext to dismantle his party
including “forced divorces” and prosecuting PTI leaders and supporters in military courts.
“Those in PDM and the journalist community who are cheerleaders for this yazeediyat should know that this is not dismantling PTI but our democracy i.e. our freedom.”
Mr Khan added that “the attempt to enslave” PTI will fail as today’s youth was politically aware and gets information from social media even as the media was being muzzled.