Expressing their regret over the May 9 mayhem, two more Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders — singer-turned-politician Abrar Ul Haq and Senator Saifullah Nyazee — on Friday announced quitting the party.
The PTI leaders' mass exodus started when the security forces launched a crackdown against the party following the attacks on the civil and military institutions, including the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi and the Lahore Corps Commander’s House (Jinnah House).
The riots were triggered by PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s arrest from Islamabad High Court in the Al-Qadir Trust graft case on May 9 — a day the army dubbed as “Black Day”.
Addressing a presser in Lahore, Haq said: “I regret standing with Imran Khan.”
Haq said he grew up in a family with a political and military background, adding that when he was blessed "with fame by Allah", and had a passion to do something for the motherland.
Talking about his respect for the martyrs, the singer-turned-politician said that whenever he sees a photo of a martyr, he salutes it.
“In our medical college, education is free for the children of martyrs,” he added. Haq said that he has no "greed for fame or position".
In a separate presser in Islamabad, Senator Nyazee announced parting ways with the PTI.
“I remained very disturbed during the past year. I wanted to focus on my family,” he said. The senator expressed great grief over May 9 incidents.
Raas and Firdous
Earlier today, PTI leader and former Punjab education minister Murad Raas announced that he has quit the party.
Addressing a press conference in Lahore, Raas said no amount of condemnation was enough for what happened on May 9. "We never thought we would part ways with the party," he said alongside other leaders, including Pir Ahmad Khagga, Raja Yawar Kamal and Chaudhry Adnan.
He laid the blame for the party's current predicament — facing intense criticism with scores of leaders and thousands of workers arrested across the country following the riots — on Khan's advisers in Lahore.
"We do not believe in the PTI's politics of violence," the former provincial minister said.
Raas said he and other politicians present at the press conference had decided to form a group so work on Pakistan's progress could continue.
Another PTI leader and former special assistant to the Punjab chief minister Firdous Ashiq Awan also announced her exit from the party.
Condemning the May 9 violence, she claimed that it was planned at Khan's Zaman Park residence.
PTI feeling the heat
Khan’s party has been feeling the heat of the state’s might after his enraged PTI workers attacked military installations, including the Lahore Corps Commanders House and the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi after his arrest on May 9 — a day the army dubbed as “Black Day”.
Several party leaders and thousands of workers have been rounded up in connection with the violent protests and the army has insisted that the people involved in attacks on military installations be tried under the Pakistan Army Act and the Official Secrets Act.
A close aide of Khan, Asad Umar, has relinquished his posts of secretary general and core committee member, citing the ongoing situation.
Several party leaders and lawmakers — including Shireen Mazari, Aamir Mehmood Kiani, Malik Amin Aslam, Mahmood Moulvi, Aftab Siddiqui, Fayyazul Hassan Chohan, Maleeka Bokhari, and Mussarrat and Jamshed Cheema among others — have publicly denounced the attacks on the state installations and announced leaving the former ruling party since the May 9 vandalism.
Meanwhile, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif has said the federal government was considering imposing a ban on the PTI after receiving evidence that the party’s supporters carried out "pre-planned" and "coordinated" attacks on public properties and military installations.