Former Pakistan Prime Minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Friday appealed for immediate talks with state officials. This comes as pressure mounts on him amid a crackdown on his top aides and supporters that saw thousands arrested as well as many leaving his party, Pakistan based The Express Tribune newspaper reported.
The clampdown started earlier this month when Imran’s supporters were involved in violent protests following his brief arrest on May 9.
“I would like to appeal for talks because what is currently happening is not a solution,” Imran said in a live talk streamed on YouTube, warning that the country was headed towards anarchy, as per The Express Tribune.
The political unrest worsened as Pakistan faced its worst economic crisis in decades. Inflation was at record highs, economic growth was anaemic, and there were fears that the country could default on external debts unless the International Monetary Fund unlocked delayed disbursements.
Meanwhile, three Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders on Thursday announced quitting the Imran Khan-led party. With this, a huge list of leaders have deserted the party following the May 9 riots, Geo News reported.
Maleeka Bokhari in a press conference in Islamabad, said: “I condemn the events that transpired on May 9. For every Pakistani, the events that took place on May 9 are very painful.”
Announcing her “dissociation” from the party, Bokhari said she wasn’t under duress and “no one forced me into making this decision”.
Cheema in a a separate press conference, 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.
Former Pakistan Finance Minister Asad Umar has also stepped down as Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s Secretary General. The announcement by Umar came shortly after he was released from the Adiala Jail, Pakistan based The Express Tribune newspaper reported.
Umar announced his decision during a press conference at National Press Club in Islamabad on Wednesday.
“Not possible for me to lead the party under these circumstances. I am resigning as Secretary General and core committee member of PTI,” he said while addressing the press conference.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)