Six more Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders from Punjab on Saturday parted their ways with the party after condemning the May 9 attacks.
Leaders include ex-provincial ministers Hashim Dogar, Rai Taimur Bhatti, Chaudhry Ikhlaq, and Samiullah, ex-TEVTA chairman Mamoon Tarar, and Sardar Mansab Ali Dogar. They announced the move at a press conference.
Hashim Dogar said May 9 could not be forgotten for life, adding that they condemned the attacks. “It was better if Mr Khan would have been taken a dig at his political opponents,” he added.
“Pakistan army is our red line,” he said.
He went on to say that they would formulate future strategy soon, adding that some other party members were also in contact with them. “Whoever was involved in May 9 attacks should be give an exemplary punishment,” he added.
He continued by saying that politicians should keep their politics to themselves, adding that they should remember sacrifices rendered by soldiers. “We should stay away from violence,” he added.
Mr Dogar appealed the law-enforcement authorities to release innocent captives.
Rai Taimur Bhatti said times came in politics that one had to choose politics and state, adding that they existed if the state existed. “If attacks like May 9 are not condemned, it will become a trend,” he added.
“We have chosen state over politics,” he said.
Ch Ikhlaq a time had come when the nation had to choose between vested interests and the country, adding that May 9 attacks had been condemned. “May 9 attack is akin to Bangladesh tragedy for me,” he added.
He went on to say that he would like to pay tribute to the army, adding that they would devise a strategy for future soon.
He started off by saying that he was not crying to leave the PTI, adding that May 9 attacks were actually worth crying. “A drop of soldier’s blood is more sacred than all politicians,” he added.
He said it was a matter of concern for all of them, adding that they had not yet joined any other party. “We are just quitting the PTI,” he added.
Mr Mansab said he had joined the PTI two months ago, adding that it was not incumbent upon everyone what happened on May 9. “May 9 attacks jolted us,” he added.
He went on to say that the army had protected the country since it came into being in 1948, adding that he could not understand the clash between politicians and the army. “People suffer in this fight and no one else,” he added.
Earlier, in a significant development, Jahangir Tareen, a disgruntled PTI leader. hinted at establishing a new political party.
Sources familiar with the matter disclosed that Mr Tareen would assume the role of the party’s patron-in-chief, with several prominent dissident leaders of PTI, including Aleem Khan, joining his ranks.
Reports suggest that Mr Tareen and his like-minded associates undertook initial preparations, while a party secretariat was established in Lahore.
PTI leader Murad Raas on Friday announced quitting the party as well as forming a group of like-minded people.
Addressing a presser with Pir Ahmad Khagga, Raja Yawar Kamal and Chaudhry Adnan, he said May 9 attacks were highly condemnable, adding that it was never in plans. “I don’t know how things reached this point,” he added.
He went on to say that more PTI leaders would follow suit in the coming days, adding that sometimes one had to take two steps back to move forward. “We joined the party to improve the situation of the country,”he added.