ISLAMABAD: Seven leaders of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders, including Maleeka Bokhari, Jamshed Cheema, his spouse Musarrat Jamshed Cheema, Senator Abdul Qadir and Haider Ali and two for members of Punjab Assembly, Thursday announced quitting the Imran Khan-led party, joining a long list of leaders to desert the party following the May 9 riots.
“I condemn the events that transpired on May 9. For every Pakistani, the events that took place on May 9 are very painful,” the former member of the National Assembly said in a press conference in Islamabad.
Announcing her “dissociation” from the party, Bokhari said she wasn’t under duress and “no one forced me into making this decision”.
“As a lawyer, I want to play a positive role in Pakistan. I also want to spend time with my family,” she said.
Bokhari quit the party hours after her release from Adiala Jail, where she was sent after being arrested under Section 4 of the Maintenance of Public Order.
In her presser, Bokhari backed the authorities’ decision to investigate the May 9 events and said the people behind the violent events should be punished.
“When a red line has been crossed, then action should be taken in line with the law,” she added.
In a separate press conference, Cheema said he and his wife could not continue with the Khan-led party due to the violence that ensued after the PTI chief’s arrest.
“I was there at the Corps Commander House myself. It saddened me to see what was happening there. The people who were involved in it should be punished,” he said.
He said it is a party’s failure if its workers are violent.
“This career [..] is in our blood … it was not an easy decision to leave politics. You serve the nation in politics, but not at the cost of armed forces … not at the cost of people who protect the country,” Cheema added.
Separately, PTI Senator Mohammad Abdul Qadir also announced his exit from the party as he condemned the May 9 riots and the attack on the Jinnah House. “I will sit as an independent member instead of sitting in the PTI’s benches in the Senate from now on,” he announced.
A former MNA and PTI leader Dr Haider Ali also announced joining the PPP on Thursday.
Dr Haider Ali made the announcement of joining the PPP in a press conference here Thursday along with the PPP’s Information Secretary and Minister of State for Poverty Alleviation and Social Justice Faisal Karim Kundi, President PPP Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Muhammad Ali Bacha, Federal Minister for Overseas Pakistanis Sajid Turi, PPP leader of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Hamayun Khan and PPP’s Media Coordinator Nazir Domki.
Meanwhile, two former Punjab Assembly members from Bahawalnagar — Mumtaz Ahmad Maharvi and Asif Manzoor Mohal — also joined the list of those quitting the former ruling party. Mohal termed May 9 the “darkest day in Pakistan’s history”.