Pakistani PTI defectors form a new political party, disappointing Imran Khan 2023

On Thursday, scores of disgruntled Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders formed a new political party with the support of the powerful military to compete in the October general elections, dealing a blow to former prime minister Imran Khan.

After the 9 May attacks on military locations, Khan’s longtime friend and sugar mogul Jahangir Khan Tareen announced the foundation of the Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party (IPP) in Lahore.

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

Tareen, who helped build the 2018 Imran Khan-led government, says he entered politics to help Pakistan.

The billionaire left Khan when the PTI-led government charged him with money laundering.

“We have gathered at one platform to make joint efforts to lift the country out of this quagmire,” said Tareen, who was banned for life in 2017 after the Supreme Court declared him guilty of assets beyond means.

He claimed the country required political leadership that could handle social, economic, and other problems.

He said that 9 May vandals should be prosecuted “or else the houses of political opponents will be attacked in the future”.

He said that the country needs fresh political leadership to prosper since people have lost hope in the existing system.

Khan’s former advisers Fawad Chaudhry, Imran Ismail, Ali Zaidi, and others met Tareen before the party’s statement.

On Wednesday, over 100 PTI leaders and legislators joined Tareen, whose party has over 120 former PTI leaders and politicians.

Khan and political experts call this new party the “king’s party” since the military supports it. The king’s party will likely win the next election.

On Thursday, former PTI leader Firdous Ashiq Awan informed the Press Trust of India that the IPP (king’s party) will be the “new PTI minus Imran Khan” in the October 2023 general elections.

She blamed Khan for his party’s problems.

“His anti-military narrative caused May 9 incidents. “He targeted the establishment instead of his political rivals and now he is paying the price,” she remarked.

She added most PTI leaders and former parliamentarians have joined Tareen and would not stay with Khan.

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

More than 130 politicians and former parliamentarians have left PTI “under military pressure” to keep Khan out of politics.

After the 9 May disturbance, several had proclaimed a “temporary break” from politics. They rejoined the new political party after two weeks.

Since 9 May, PTI leaders have left Khan daily. Only a few PTI officials may back Khan’s efforts to split the party.

“Most PTI defectors have joined Tareen group. According to PM’s special assistant Awn Chaudhry, the group’s principal leader, the “Istehkaam-i-Pakistan Party (IPP)” would include all those who left Mr. Khan.

He stated the Democrats, 35 former PTI MPs, had joined the Tareen faction. “Now we will do politics on the new platform,” Chaudhry stated.

Fawad Chaudhry, Amir Kiyani, Imran Ismael, Ali Zaidi, Firdous Ashiq Awan, and Fayyazul Hasan Chohan are prominent members of the new group.

Aleem Khan, a property and media billionaire, wants the IPP presidency, although Tareen may be named “chief” of the new party until the court lifts his lifetime ban from public office.

After paramilitary soldiers arrested Khan from the Islamabad High Court on May 9, PTI demonstrators damaged dozens of military and governmental institutions and killed numerous people.

After scores of prominent officials left his party after the 9 May military installation attacks crackdown, the deposed premier is under pressure to keep it together.

Khan, a cricketer-turned-politician, was driven from office in April last year after losing a no-confidence vote, which he said was part of a US-led plot targeting him for his independent foreign policy on Russia, China, and Afghanistan.

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