Pakistan Imran Khan
Imran Khan isolated after closest aides leave PTI. Image Credit: Reuters file

Quetta: Former Chief Minister of Pakistan Punjab Usman Buzdar, known to be close to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan, on Friday announced his plans to quit politics, media reports said.

Addressing a press conference here, Buzdar said he has been facing cases for the past 14 months, Samaa TV reported.

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“I am taking a break from politics,” he said.

Buzdar also reiterated his support for Pakistan Army and urged all stakeholders to sit together and take the country out of the problems it is facing.

Buzdar said there would be no citizen who would not condemn these incidents of May 9.

“I am standing with the army and will continue to stand in the future. I announce my withdrawal from politics,” Buzdar said, Samaa TV reported.

His press conference was full of wishes and prayers and defending his three-and-a-half-year stint in the country’s largest province.

He also said that innocent people have been arrested and they should be treated leniently and should be released.

“I have served the people with good intentions and I have not been active in politics for the past 14 months,” Buzdar insisted, Samaa TV reported.

Buzdar, whose term as Punjab’s Chief Minister was cut short in March 2022, said he had always stood with the armed forces of Pakistan and will continue to do so, Geo News reported.

“I have always committed to politics of nobility [...] but due to the current circumstances, I have decided to quit politics,” the former Chief Minister, once considered to be close to Imran Khan, said, Geo News reported.

Top ally of Khan arrested

On Thursday, Pakistan’s police arrested a top official in Khan’s political party.

Pervez Elahi, who is the president of PTI, was arrested in a raid in the eastern city of Lahore. Khan is head of the party, as chairman.

Khan and his party quickly denounced the arrest.

Amir Mir, who is information minister for the Punjab province, said Elahi was nabbed in a corruption case.

Adding to the towering list of leaders announcing their departure from PTI are former Defence Minister Pervaiz Khattak and former National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser.

“Nothing good happened on May 9... I have condemned the incident before, may Allah prevent such an incident from happening again. The political environment of the country is bad. I have decided to leave the post of the party.. I will decide about the future course of action after consulting with friends,” said Khattak, who was also the former Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as well as the party’s president in the province.

Just recently, Khattak and Qaiser had been nominated as part of the PTI negotiation team after Khan called on the “powerful quarters” to sit for table talks and find a solution to what he termed as political chaos in the country to target him and his party.

Since the May 9 chaos, more than 100 PTI leaders have announced their departure from the party.