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Leaders, Who Left Imran Khan, Launch Own Party Backed By Pak Army

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Leaders, Who Left Imran Khan, Launch Own Party Backed By Pak Army

She said Imran Khan is responsible for what he and his party are facing today.

Lahore:

In a setback to Pakistan’s beleaguered former prime minister Imran Khan, scores of disgruntled leaders on Thursday launched a new political party – believed to be backed by the powerful military – to fight the general elections likely to be held in October.

Sugar baron and Imran Khan’s old friend Jahangir Khan Tareen, who is leading the group of leaders who quit the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party in the wake of May 9 attacks on military installations, announced the launch of the Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party (IPP) during a press conference in Lahore.

“We are laying the foundation of a new political party – Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party,” said Mr Tareen, flanked by former PTI leaders including Aleem Khan, Imran Ismail and others.

Mr Tareen, who played a major role in the formation of the Imran Khan-led government in 2018, said that he joined politics to play his role for the betterment of the country.

The millionaire parted ways with Mr Khan when a money laundering case was registered against him during the PTI-led government.

“We have gathered at one platform to make joint efforts to lift the country out of this quagmire,” said Mr Tareen, who was disqualified for life after the Supreme Court ruled in 2017 that he was found guilty in assets beyond means case.

He said that the country needed a political leadership which could resolve all prevailing issues including social, economic and others.

He also said that May 9 vandalism culprits should be brought to book “or else the houses of political opponents will be attacked in the future”.

The country, he further said, needs a new political leadership which could put it on a path of progress saying that people have lost all hope in the current political system.

Several former aides of Mr Khan including Fawad Chaudhry, Imran Ismail, Ali Zaidi and others reportedly met Tareen before the official announcement of the new party.

More than 100 PTI stalwarts and legislators on Wednesday joined their new boss Mr Tareen, whose party comprises over 120 former leaders and lawmakers of the PTI.

This new party is being tagged as the ‘king’s party’ by Mr Khan and political pundits for having the full backing of the military establishment. In the next elections, it is said the king’s party will emerge strong and have a share of power.

“It is not out of place to say that the IPP (king’s party) will be the ‘new PTI minus Imran Khan’ in the next general elections likely to be held in October 2023,” former PTI leader Firdous Ashiq Awan told the Press Trust of India on Thursday.

She said Mr Khan is responsible for what he and his party are facing today.

“His anti-military narrative caused May 9 incidents. Instead of targeting his political rivals he aimed at the establishment and now he is paying the price,” she said.

Most of the main leaders and former lawmakers of PTI have joined the Tareen group and no one will stay with Khan, she said.

“We under the new platform will do politics against mainstream parties – PMLN and PPP – as PTI has now become a thing of the past,” Ms Awan said.

More than 130 leaders and former lawmakers have quit PTI for what Mr Khan said “under military pressure” to keep him out of politics.

Interestingly, some of them had announced a ‘temporary break’ from politics while quitting the PTI in the wake of the May 9 unrest. However, their break lasted only a couple of weeks before they formally entered the new political camp.

Every day since the attacks on over 20 military installations and state buildings including the army headquarters in Rawalpindi on May 9, the PTI leaders have been leaving Mr Khan. It is believed that only a handful of PTI leaders may be left supporting Mr Khan in the ongoing efforts to fracture the PTI.

“Almost all PTI deserters have converged on one platform – Tareen group. Now this group is launching a new party – ‘Istehkaam-i-Pakistan Party (IPP) – and all those leaving Mr Khan will be part of this party,” said PM’s special assistant Awn Chaudhry, who is a main leader of the group.

He said the Democrats group, comprising some 35 former lawmakers of PTI, has also joined the Tareen group. “Now we will do politics on the new platform,” Chaudhry said.

Prominent among those who joined the new group are PTI’s former senior vice president Fawad Chaudhry, its founding member Amir Kiyani, former Sindh governor Imran Ismael, former federal ministers Ali Zaidi and Firdous Ashiq Awan and outspoken Fayyazul Hasan Chohan.

Property and media tycoon Aleem Khan is lobbying for the president’s slot in the IPP while Mr Tareen himself may be called ‘chief’ of the new party till he gets relief from the court regarding his lifetime disqualification from holding a public office.

The arrest of Mr Khan by paramilitary personnel from the Islamabad High Court premises on May 9 triggered unrest in Pakistan, leading to several deaths and dozens of military and state installations being destroyed by the angry PTI protesters.

The ousted premier is under pressure to keep his party intact as dozens of top leaders have abandoned it after the crackdown launched to arrest those involved in attacks on military installations on May 9.

Mr Khan, a cricketer-turned-politician, was ousted from power in April last year after losing a no-confidence vote in his leadership, which he alleged was part of a US-led conspiracy targeting him because of his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia, China and Afghanistan. 

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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