Currently, Pakistan’s most popular political party, PTI, is going through a rough patch as members jump ship at an alarming rate after the May 9th protests. Several key PTI figures have called it quits, with the latest being Shireen Mazari.
While PTI Senior Vice President Shireen Mazari announced her resignation from the party and politics altogether, citing personal reasons, it nevertheless came as a shock. Immediately after the development, speculation was rife that PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi would follow suit in quitting the party.
However, former Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has decided to remain with the party. In a brief media talk upon his rearrest outside Adiala Jail by the Punjab Police, Qureshi asserted that he was a member of the PTI and would not part ways with it.
“I was in the party, am [in the party], and will remain [in the party],” Shah Mahmood Qureshi said.
— PTI (@PTIofficial) May 23, 2023
Pertinent to mention that Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s comments about staying with the party came after he was rearrested following his release from Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail. He was then taken away by police to an unknown location.
He was earlier arrested by the police in cases of riots and arsons in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa following the May 9th protests. The Islamabad High Court (IHC) had ordered his release after he submitted an undertaking affirming that he would abstain from creating agitation and inciting workers. However, he was re-arrested.
Reacting to Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s arrest, PTI Chairman Imran Khan said, “We are being governed by the law of the jungle, might is right and the only thing standing its way is our judiciary.” He further added that the Constitution and human rights are being brazenly violated.
Vice Chairman PTI Shah Mehmood Qureshi rearrested after getting bail just like PTI workers and supporters.
We are now being governed by law of the jungle, might is right and the only thing standing in its way is our judiciary.
The constitution is being brazenly violated along…
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) May 23, 2023
Shireen Mazari is the first top-tier PTI leader to call it quits. Her sudden resignation has sparked speculation that she was forced to leave PTI.
Following the May 9th protests against Imran Khan’s arrest, several PTI leaders including Shireen Mazari were arrested under the Maintenance of Public Order ordinance. She was granted bail by courts on multiple occasions but was re-arrested immediately every time.
After her recent release, Shireen Mazari announced her resignation from PTI and politics saying she had taken the decision after the ordeal of her 12 days under arrest and the effect it had on her health as well as her daughter, lawyer Imaan Hazir Mazari.
Similarly, Shah Mahmood Qureshi was also re-arrested. Therefore, speculations are rife that pressure tactics are being applied on top PTI leaders to jump ship. While the former Foreign Minister has vowed to stand with PTI, it still remains to be seen whether he too calls it quit or not.
Sources claim that maximum pressure is being applied on Shah Mehmood Qureshi to quit PTI, but he's showing defiance and still standing strong. We hope Shah Sahib will sustain the pressure iA.
— Adil Raja (@soldierspeaks) May 23, 2023
Shah Mahmood Qureshi refuses to leave PTI, he is immediately re-locked up after his release from jail.
This tactic has the subtlety of Eiffel Tower: quit Imran Khan’s party, have a press conference to announce your decision and you will be released. Viola! https://t.co/SgGhqnmsNV
— Mehr Tarar (@MehrTarar) May 23, 2023