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Ayesha Gulalai Wazir left PTI

02 August, 2017

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PESHAWAR: Ayesha Gulalai Wazir, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) member of the National Assembly (MNA), on Tuesday bid adieu to the party, alleging it had become “anti-women”.

The MNA had met Imran Khan on Monday evening to discuss her future with the party after which reports of her parting ways with the PTI emerged over the social media. However, she was quick to refute the reports late Monday.

Announcing her decision of leaving the party, the MNA, who was given the National Assembly seat reserved for women, alleged that the party environment was not safe for women and no respect was given to the women associated with the PTI.

She even claimed that Imran Khan didn’t gave respect to women, pointing to a recent comment made by the PTI chief when another female MNA Naz Baloch deserted the party and joined the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

Ayesha Gulalai added that she had raised the issue many times with party seniors, including Imran Khan, but her voice fell over deaf ears and no measures were taken to address the issue.

She also claimed that a class difference had developed within the PTI ranks, as the workers were judged on their closeness to influential figures of the party.

The PTI leaders and party workers, particularly in KP, knew it for some time that Ayesha Gulalai had developed differences with the party policies. Her issues with Chief Minister Pervez Khattak and some ministers were topics of discussion for PTI workers for nearly a month now.

A PTI source, requesting anonymity, claimed that Ayesha Gulalai had stayed in the party for the past few weeks because she was promised a good position in the province and was also told that her brother would be promoted in the party ranks.

More so, it was also claimed that the MNA was promised party ticket for National Assembly seat NA-1 Peshawar by Imran Khan for the next year's general election.

It was not immediately clear which political party would Ayesha Gulalai join, as there were talks of her going either to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) or Awami National Party (ANP). However, some sources within the PTI claimed that the MNA had recently met PML-N KP President Engineer Amir Muqam and she had also seen Maryam Nawaz in the recent past to discuss her future.

Though the PTI is famous for attracting leaders from other political parties to its ranks, it has recently lost a few of its own political figures to other parties. Opponents of the PTI in KP, particularly the PML-N, are hopeful that they would bag more 'wickets' of the PTI as the election year draws near.

Meanwhile, Gulalai addressed a press conference later in the evening in which she claimed that PTI leader Shireen Mazari's reasoning that she (Gulalai) was leaving the party over the matter of a party ticket seemed "illogical" and "strange".

Responding to Mazari's allegation that she was upset over not being allowed to speak at a rally, Gulalai said that there had been many rallies during which she had not spoken. "I can do that in the assembly if I wish," she claimed.

However, she said Mazari has "always had issues... whenever I have spoken up about foreign policy in the NA". "Perhaps she thinks only she retains the right to speak about foreign policy".

"Today people are joining the PTI and I am leaving it, so obviously something has happened that has made me 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.

The PTI MNA said she was "shocked" when she heard the words Imran 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 added.

"I was shocked," she continued. "I saw many of their [PTI members'] misdeeds. One of them is that they send inappropriate text messages. They dishonour respectable women. The respect of women is not intact at the hands of Imran Khan and the men around him," she alleged.

When asked about the content of the messages, she replied, "No one with any honour will be able to stomach the sort of language used."

"He [Khan] tells women to keep BlackBerry phones so that messages are not traced. Check his BlackBerry," she alleged. "Check the messages from him... The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority can release the record."

"Maybe they think Pakistan is England. At this age, you [Khan] have not been able to change 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."

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