ISLAMABAD:(APS)August 1, 2017-Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) MNA Ayesha Gulalai announced her exit from the party on Tuesday amid a flurry of scathing allegations against party chairman Imran Khan and other top party members.
Gulalai, in a press conference earlier today moments before the election of the new prime minister, cited ‘ill-treatment’ of women in the party as the reason behind her decision, saying she had communicated her grievances to the party leadership but no action had been taken.
“Women workers are not respected in the PTI and a respectable woman worker cannot remain in the party,” she had said, adding that the culture being promoted by certain party leaders is not in line with Pakthtun cultural values.
Gulalai, who hails from Waziristan, was elected to the National Assembly on a reserved seat for women from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), and has been a staunch and vocal supporter of the PTI and Imran Khan and often featured in prime time talkshows to defend party policies. She will be resigning from both her party membership and NA seat.
A rebuttal from PTI’s Shireen Mazari followed shortly after Gulalai’s announcement, with the PTI’s chief whip in the NA claiming that the PTI worker was disgruntled after being denied a party ticket in the upcoming General Election from the NA-1 constituency.
Mazari also claimed Gulalai had called on PTI Chairman Imran Khan yesterday evening, along with a delegation, demanding he confirm the party ticket, which, she said, was ‘unacceptable’ as Khan was not allowed to take unilateral decisions in this regard.
Mazari claimed Gulalai had resorted to levelling false allegations against the party and personal attacks against Khan upon failure to acquire the ticket.
She observed that it was strange for Gulalai to switch loyalties to the PML-N for the sake of respect, as the ruling party disrespects women and calls them names in the NA.
“As far as allegations that she was restrained from addressing a convention on Monday are concerned, we had limited the speakers. Khan also asked me to address it, but I put forward Yasmeen Rashid. We were not able to provide all aspiring speakers to provide with an opportunity to do so,” she added.
Gulalai returned later in the evening to rubbish Mazari’s claims, saying her leaving of the party over the matter of a ticket seemed “illogical” and “strange”.
She added that there had been many rallies during which she had not spoken. “I can do that in the Assembly if I wish,” she said.
“Today people are joining the PTI and I am leaving it, so obviously something has happened that has caused me to leave the party,” she said.
“Before the PTI, I was a member of the PPP. When I came into the PTI, I encountered a very different environment,” she said.
“I was shocked,” she continued. “I saw many of their misdeeds. One of them is that they send ‘wrong’ text messages. They disrespect respectable women. The respect of women is not intact at the hands of Imran Khan and the men around him,” she alleged.
“Maybe they think Pakistan is England. At this age, you [Khan] have not been able to reform your habits, maybe you do not have control over your behaviour,” she added.
“They said I was going to join the PML-N. I am not going to join that party,” she clarified. “I will say only that you could make all sorts of allegations against Nawaz Sharif, but he will never be accused of jeopardising the honour of our mothers, sisters and daughters.”
According to Articles 62 and 63, she said, if a leader is dishonest he is disqualified. “The article also refers to moral turpitude,” she said. “I request the Supreme Court that it considers this statement during the course of the disqualification case against Imran Khan.”
“Such a man should be disqualified. Should such a man be eligible to run the country?” she asked.
“I am on social media less, and on the ground more,” she claimed. “They are on social media more. That is where they want to bring ‘change’.”
“And to Shireen Mazari, I will say with all due respect, whenever I have spoken up about foreign policy in the NA, she has always had issues. Perhaps she thinks only she retains the right to speak about foreign policy,” Gulalai said.
The PTI MNA said she was “shocked” when she heard the words Khan used for slain PPP leader Benazir Bhutto.
“When I was in the PPP… Benazir Bhutto gave me two party tickets for MNA and for MPA. I was very young at the time, and she gave me the tickets on the basis of talent and potential. But their [the PTI’s] criteria for tickets is “something else”.
“Maybe I am incapable of fulfilling this criteria,” she claimed.
In addition to not attending party meetings as she was busy “on the ground”, Gulalai claimed she stopped doing so as the meetings were full of “mudslinging”.
“Their only mode of performance is mudslinging,” she claimed. “In our meetings, Imran Khan tells us how to attack our opponents… And how to besmirch their names,” she alleged.
Gulalai said she was saddened to note that “small workers” of the party were not considered to have any worth by the party’s leadership.
“You yourself sit in Bani Gala, but your workers are beaten, they are teargassed and shelled and killed, and then you call them ‘small workers’,” she said.
“I think Imran Khan has issues, because he is jealous of talented people. He thinks they are a threat. Because of this, many men run from him. He has other methods with women,” she alleged.
“The criteria to get a party ticket from Imran Khan is if you laugh at his jokes, if you wear the same slippers or clothes as him, if you go running with him… That’s how you curry his favour,” she claimed. “The people who do the work are not favoured.”
“PTI MNAs, who are elected representatives, are not given any importance… and treated with contempt.”