HomePakistanHow former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan's PTI party is disintegrating

How former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s PTI party is disintegrating

Since his arrest last month and the violence that followed, including attacks on military installations, more than 80 leaders of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) have left the party, some even leaving. They announced their retirement. about politic

The long list of leaders who have left the party includes Imran’s top advisers such as former Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari, Senior Vice President and PTI spokesman Fawad Chaudhry and the party’s general secretary Asad Umar.

The exodus of leading party members has only added to the former prime minister’s woes, as several other PTI leaders, who have stood firm with him, languish in jail, including the party’s vice-president and former minister Of Foreign Affairs. Shah Mahmoud Qureshi. In addition, thousands of PTI workers have been detained by the authorities for their alleged role in the violent protests that broke out on May 9 and 10, after PTI chief arrested in Al-Qadir Trust case – He was later released on bail.

To make matters worse, the current ruling administration, led by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), plans to ban PTI for “promoting extremism and violence”. Imran, however, remains unfazed. Speaking to the BBC recently, the former prime minister said: “You think it’s a big crisis for me, I don’t think so.”

Why is the PTI witnessing a massive exodus of leaders?

According to media reports, the public announcements by PTI leaders, who have resigned from the party, have largely followed a similar line: the party leader would call a press conference, most after being released from prison. They would then condemn the violence and then express their love and dedication towards Pakistan. In the end, they declared that they were leaving the PTI and added that they were either taking a break or choosing to retire from active politics.

Although these leaders have insisted that they did not make the decision to resign under any external pressure, many analysts believe they resigned under pressure from the country’s all-powerful military. Avinash Paliwal, associate professor of international relations at SOAS University London, said The Guardian: “This dramatic crackdown is a clear strategy by the military to bring down all the support structures that (Imran) Khan has… Once those structures are gone, Khan is next in line.”

The former prime minister and the military had a falling out last year: Imran was ousted from power in April 2022 after a vote of no confidence in parliament. Since then, he has been leading a campaign against the military while demanding early elections. Imran also accused the army of trying to assassinate him and of being behind his arrest in May.

This is far from the first time that Pakistan’s military establishment has tried to uproot a civilian political outlet. Time and again, prominent leaders and popular prime ministers have faced the heat of the army, once their relationship soured. For example, in 2017, then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was ousted from power and jailed for corruption when he clashed with the army.

The apparent dismantling of Imran’s party by the military has been backed and facilitated by the ruling coalition of political parties, known as the Pakistan Democratic Movement; recently announced to try people accused of attacking military installations, according to the country’s military law. The main reason for their unwavering support for the army is that they fear electoral defeat at the hands of Imran.

The former prime minister is currently facing more than hundreds of cases, including corruption and sedition. On May 9, he was arrested by paramilitary forces from the Islamabad High Court in the Al-Qadir Trust case. This led to widespread violence across the country with PTI workers reportedly attacking military installations, including the Corps Commanders House in Lahore and the Headquarters in Rawalpindi. The army later called May 9 a “Black Day.”

To read more about the Al-Qadir Trust case, click here.

What happens now?

Despite the large number of defections from his party, the former prime minister has stood his ground and is confident of winning the election. He said no matter how many people leave, whoever gets the PTI ballot will win the election.

Observers, however, see a bleak chance of Imran returning as Pakistan’s top leader. With most of his aides leaving the party or jailed, the PTI chief appears to have been isolated as his support slowly fades. The Guardianciting a source within the party, he reported that “several of those who resigned were now discussing a plan to rebuild the PTI ‘minus Khan’ as a way to ‘save the party’”.

Source link

- Advertisment -