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Dominos begin to fall as former Pak minister Shireen Mazari quits Imran Khan’s PTI

Imran Khan loyalist Shireen Mazari has quit PTI

The relentless pressure by the Pakistan’s military establishment against ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan has now begun to breach the fortress of Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI), with senior leader Shireen Mazari announcing her exit from the party.

Mazari’s decision followed her arrests, several times, over the last few days following the May 9 riots that targeted several military institutions including the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi and the Lahore corps commander’s residence.

Mazari’s arrest followed the vandalism after the arrest of the former Prime Minister in the Al-Qadir Trust case.

As reported by India Narrative earlier, the Pakistani military has decided to dismantle the PTI ecosystem. The May 9 incident has restored unity in the Pak army at all levels. Earlier, there were speculations of some sort of a mutiny within. In fact, pro-Imran elements including Vloggers abroad were daily predicting the ouster of G n Asim Munir by Chairman Joint Chief of Staff Committee Sahir Shamshad Mirza.   All ranks and file of the army are highly grieved and simultaneously enraged that PTI rioters set ablaze the dummy of the Saber jet outside the Mianwali Airbase and desecrated and destroyed the statue of Captain Carnal Sher Khan at Punjab Regiment Centre Mardan, which they have considered metaphors of valor and gallantry.

The May 9 blunder is being deemed as an unforgivable sin even by the people including mid-ranking officers in Pak army, who had had been previously inclined to sympathize with Imran. They see the Pakistan’s People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) as parties that gave Pakistan the constitution, nuclear programme, motorway and CPEC. But the “historical credit” of mounting direct attacks on the army goes only to the PTI. By committing this act, the PTI has committed treason against the state and it does not deserve any mercy or concession.

Mazari’s exit has not come as a surprise. Several PTI leaders close to Imran and holding senior positions in the parties have either left PTI  are about to do so in coming the days as they confront new realities on the ground.   Leaders such as Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Asad Umar are believed to have been kept in detention deliberately, and they can also part ways with Imran Khan at any moment.

The Pak establishment’s plans as yet are to divide PTI into various factions, minus Imran. Jahangir Tareen has been activated to form a strong faction comprising majority of electable Members of the National Assembly (MNAs) and Members of the Provincial Assemblies (MPAs) who can play a major role in any future set up. Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Fawad Chaudhry and Pervez Elahi will also be assigned a major role in Punjab. Pervez Khattak and Asad Qaiser will be major players in the new arrangement in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Faisal Wavda who had left PTI several months ago will play similar role in Sindh together with Ali Zaidi.

PTI alleges that over 7000 of its workers including leaders have been arrested in the ongoing massive crackdown, while the government puts the figure around 3600-4000. It is said that a list of 2200 people involved in the violence has been prepared by the agencies.

The military’s resolve to hunt down the vandals was evident once again when Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir said on Monday that the recent attacks on military installations and memorials of martyrs were highly regrettable and intolerable incidents. Addressing the military awards distribution ceremony, held in honour of martyrs and veterans here at the General Headquarters (GHQ), he said martyrs and Ghazis were the armed forces’ valuable assets and capital of pride.

Also Read: How a unified Pakistan military is dismantling Project Imran