Imran Khan confident of PTI's appeal, says it doesn't matter who's leaving: Pakistan media

The former prime minister's statement comes in the backdrop of the desertion of top PTI leaders, who have condemned violent protests after Khan's arrest in a corruption case earlier this month

By Web Desk

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Published: Wed 31 May 2023, 2:31 PM

Former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan is confident of his party's mass appeal and says it will win the next elections, even though dozens of his colleagues have jumped ship amid an ongoing political turmoil, according to Pakistan's media.

The cricket star-turned-politician, who was ousted in a no-confidence vote in Parliament last year, also said he did not need "electables" because his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party had the largest vote bank in the country, Pakistan's media said on Wednesday.

"If you have that much vote big, it doesn't matter who is leaving and joining the party," the 70-year-old Khan said in an interview with Independent Urdu, according to Geo News.

His statement comes in the backdrop of the desertion of top leaders such as former PTI Secretary General Asad Umar, senior leader Fawad Chaudhry and former minister Shireen Mazari. The leaders have condemned violent protests that erupted in Pakistan earlier this month after Khan's arrest in a corruption case. (The former premier was subsequently released on bail.)

Khan, who is embroiled in a battery of legal challenges, asserted that his PTI will defeat the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) — the country's ruling alliance — in upcoming elections, Geo News reported.

On May 9, violent protests broke out after paramilitary Rangers arrested Khan from the Islamabad High Court premises, with military installations coming under attack. Thousands of Khan’s supporters were arrested and Pakistan's Army later described it as a “dark day” in the history of the country.

Pakistan Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah told the Dawn on Tuesday that Khan will be tried in a military court for the events of May 9.

Khan has been tangled in dozens of legal cases he claims are fabricated to quash the PTI and bar him from contesting elections due this autumn. He has alleged that attempts are being made to crush his party and that leaders are being forced to quit the PTI.

Defence analyst Dr Hasan Askari told the Press Trust of India news agency that even if Khan's party was not banned amid the ongoing standoff, it could become irrelevant in the next elections with so many leaders jumping ship.

"The next elections seem to be a contest among the friendly parties of the incumbent government," he said.

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