‘Forced divorces’: Imran Khan blames Pakistan govt as Shireen Mazari, other top leaders quit PTI


Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday blamed the ‘state’ for the departure of some high profile exits from his party, Pakistan Tehreek-e- Insaf (PTI) in the last few days. Khan, who is slapped with over 100 cases across the country, said his party was facing the “full fury of state power without any accountability”.

Imran Khan’s trouble began after his supporters resorted to violent protests, stormed the army headquarters in Rawalpindi, and attacked the corps commander’s house in Lahore. The government and the army vowed to take the strictest action against the “rioters”. However, the former premier said that the protest was being used to “dismantle the party”.

Also read: Ex-Pakistan PM Imran Khan gets two options: ‘Go into exile or face Army Act’
Khan’s remarks come just days after his former cabinet colleagues Fawad Chaudhry and Shireen Mazari resigned from the party. “I have decided to take a break from politics, therefore, I have resigned from party position and parting ways with Imran Khan,” Chaudhry said in a tweet on Wednesday. 

Mazari’s resignation comes after she was arrested five times in the last few days. Before Mazari, some other key leaders like Jai Parkash and Mubeen Khilji. Prakash was a prominent Hindu leader in PTI while Khilji was a Member of the Provincial Assembly of Balochistan since August 2018.

“On the pretext of arson on 9th May (condemned by the entire PTI leadership) the state is trying to dismantle the party including “forced divorces” and trying PTI members in military courts,” Khan said, adding that over 10,000 PTI workers and supporters in jail including senior leadership and some facing custodial torture.

The former prime minister further said that those in the government and the journalist community who were cheerleaders “for this yazeediyat should know that this is not dismantling PTI but our democracy i.e. our freedom”.

Khan warned that the attempt to “enslave us will fail” as the country has a politically aware young population who despite media being muzzled gets its information from social media.

Senior PTI leader and former Punjab chief minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi recently said he would continue to back Imran Khan. Today, the Punjab police reached Elahi’s residence in Lahore, Dawn reported.

Earlier, it was reported that the government was considering banning Khan’s party. Earlier, India Today reported that Khan was given two options – either to go into exile or face action under the army act. It was also said that Khan had consulted with his close party leaders.

Today, Khan said: “Last year on the 25th of May commenced our descent into fascism. While three long marches by PDM during the 3.5 years of PTI govt were allowed without any hindrance, we faced the full force of state terror.” 

He claimed that houses were broken in the middle of the night and PTI office bearers and workers were kidnapped. “And then whoever got to Islamabad faced tear gas, rubber bullets, and police brutality. Some of us thought it was one off but that was just the beginning.”

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir today said that the nation will “neither forgive nor forget” those involved in desecrating memorials of martyrs and harming their dignity. Addressing police officers and the families of martyrs, he said the events of May 9 were “extremely regrettable and condemnable”.