Former KP chief minister announces his decision in a brief press conference
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) senior leader Pervez Khattak announced stepping down as the party's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter president late Thursday.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, the PTI stalwart said it was difficult for him to continue serving as the party’s KP chapter president amid the prevailing political crisis.
Khattak said he would announce the future course of action after consulting his friends and party colleagues.
The development comes hours after PTI President Parvez Elahi was arrested by anti-corruption officials in Lahore outside his home.
The PTI leader further said that he had taken the decision to leave the party post after thorough consideration.
The former defence minister further said that he had already condemned the attack on military installations on May 9.
Enraged by the PTI chief Imran Khan's arrest, party workers and supporters allegedly pillaged government and military installations on May 9. To contain the violence, the government called in the army and announced that the protesters would be tried under army laws.
Following the violent incidents, a large number of PTI workers and leaders have been arrested in an almost countrywide crackdown.
Interestingly, Khattak's press conference came after former National Assembly speaker Asad Qaiser's spokesperson claimed that he was unable to connect with both politicians.
The spokesperson had also said that Qaiser and Khattak went to meet someone at an undisclosed location at 11am and were unreachable since then.
As this news spread, rumours suggested that both leaders will be asked to leave the party.
However, Khattak in the press conference dismissed those reports.
"The propaganda that is going on is not correct, [I took] the decision after a lot of thought," the PTI stalwart said.
It is unclear whether Qaiser has taken any decision about his political future as he was present with Khattak in the press conference but left without saying anything.
Since the May 9 riots, dozens of party leaders including several bigwigs — Shireen Mazari, Fawad Chaudhry, Aamir Mehmood Kiani and others — have parted ways with party chief Imran Khan.
However, Khattak following in the footsteps of his party colleague Asad Umar, who resigned from party positions including secretary general last week, only stepped down from the party position.
The close aide of the party chairman is also part of the negotiating committee formed by the latter to hold talks with the incumbent government to break the political deadlock.