Rebels from Pakistan ex-PM Khan’s party float new outfit

Islamabad, Jun 9 (EFE).- Former members of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the party of former Prime Minister Imran Khan, announced the creation of a new outfit amid criticism of having the support of the powerful army.

PTI member Hammad Azhar took to Twitter to criticize the development, calling it a “King’s party,” using a common euphemism for those favored by the military.

He said the new party would not pose a challenge to Khan ahead of the general elections, expected to be held towards the end of the year.

“Such parties do best in a sort of political vacuum when most other political parties or leaders are discredited or do not have traction at the grass roots level which is not the case now,” he said, adding that Khan was at the “zenith of his popularity.”

More than a dozen former PTI members, including senior leaders, announced Thursday the creation of a new Istehkam-e-Pakistan party, after having left Khan’s political group in recent weeks.

Khan was arrested by the paramilitary force Rangers on May 9 for alleged corruption, and released three days later on bail.

According to the PTI, some 7,000 people were arrested in those days, including most of their leaders.

The leader of the new party of rebels is Jahangir Khan Tareen, one of Khan’s closest confidants until 2020.

Tareen, however, has been disqualified from contesting elections since 2017, after the Supreme Court convicted him of not fully declaring his assets.

“We have to take Pakistan out of the prevailing chaos, which is destroying the country,” Tareen, flanked by Khan’s former party members, said during a press conference.

The announcement of the new party comes amid speculation of the military trying to establish a party as a viable alternative to Khan.

The former prime minister was removed from office in April 2022 by a no-confidence vote, with Khan accusing the army of orchestrating his ouster.

Since then, Khan has repeatedly demanded elections, while facing a wave of cases against him. EFE


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