Pakistan revokes diplomatic passports of 9 Imran’s party leaders as more PTI members quit - GulfToday

Pakistan revokes diplomatic passports of 9 Imran’s party leaders as more PTI members quit


Founding member, close aide of Imran Khan and former Sindh governor Imran Ismail quits PTI.

Tariq Butt, Corresponded / IANS

The government in Islamabad has cancelled the diplomatic passports of nine Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders.

The PTI leaders are Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Asad Umar, Azam Swati, Pervaiz Khattak, Ali Amin Gandapur, Farrukh Habib, Aun Abbas, Zartaj Gul and Ali Muhammad Khan, Samaa TV reported.

Moreover, the diplomatic passport of Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, an ally of the Imran Khan-led party, has also been suspended.

Rashid said he was miles away from corruption thanks to the prayers of his mother and the masses. He said he didn’t run away from the country like Nawaz Sharif, Asif Zardari and Ishaq Dar had done.

Using microblogging website Twitter, the seasoned politician said he had served as federal minister 16 times, addressed the United Nations and also worked for the country’s nuclear technology. But, he added, that his “citizenship” and passport were cancelled.

The government has launched an intensive crackdown on the PTI, detaining several of its leaders and supporters over the violence and arson perpetrated on May 9 following the arrest of Khan.

Since then, dozens of PTI leaders have quit the party, and politics altogether.

In another setback, PTI leaders and former federal ministers Ali Zaidi and Makhdoom Khushro Bakhtiar parted ways with the former ruling party following May 9 events.

Former Sindh governor Imran Ismail also announced his departure from the party, moments after his release from jail in Karachi.

In a video message, Zaidi, the party’s Sindh president, who is in detention, said that quitting politics was not an easy decision, adding that he took the decision after much deliberation.

“I resign from PTI Sindh chairmanship, core committee and membership of the National Assembly,” he added.

Zaidi said that he will “continue working for Pakistan, and bring foreign exchange to the country.”

Once again, condemning the incidents of May 9, he said that “whatever happened was wrong, whoever was involved in it should be brought to justice.”

“Pakistan army is our pride because of them we sleep peacefully as they protect our borders,” Zaidi stated. He said he entered politics for Pakistan.

Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar also announced to quit PTI. He added that a year ago he had told the top and frontline leadership of the party that the PTI’s new political plan of confrontation with national institutions would be harmful for the party.

“I have distanced myself from the party’s politics because of this policy,” he said, adding that he has also distanced himself from the membership of the core committee and the presidency of South Punjab. The former minister said that “the heart-wrenching events of May 9 have forced me to distance myself from the political philosophy of the PTI.”

“I am very sure that the future of Pakistan is not in the politics of division and partisanship,” he further stated.

Addressing his “last political press conference”, Ismail said that his affiliation and ties with Khan were very good. He recalled the time when the PTI was formed, saying he was very young and was part of a group of three to four people who laid the party’s foundation.

“I always chased the dream of making Pakistan a better country and we got that chance when our party came into power in 2018. We decided to struggle and take part in the elections once again. We saw a lot of things from public rallies to attack Imran Khan but then we saw a diversion,” he added.

“After giving it a lot of thought, I have decided to step down from all PTI positions. I am leaving PTI and I don’t know if I will continue to remain active in politics. Today, I say goodbye to Imran Khan and PTI,” he concluded.

As the crackdown on PTI intensified in the aftermath of the May 9 violence, numerous PTI leaders, including close confidants of former premier Imran Khan, have been defecting from the party, leading to what the former prime minister referred to as “forced divorces.”

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