Former Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) senior leader and ex-federal minister Farrukh Habib announced his departure from the party on Monday, pledging allegiance to the Jahangir Tareen-led Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party (IPP) during a press conference held at the IPP’s head office in Lahore.

In a significant blow to the PTI, Habib condemned the May 9 riots, attributing the responsibility for the turmoil to former prime minister and Chairman of PTI, Imran Khan. He criticized Imran Khan’s handling of the political situation, alleging that the former premier fueled violence and instigated a confrontation against state institutions.

Habib said PTI’s “war” with the state institutions was “not a war between believers and non-believers,” lamenting that the ex-premier brought the country to the verge of violence.


The IPP was formed on June 8 by estranged PTI leaders Tareen and Aleem Khan, who left the ex-PM’s party after severe disagreements, while several Imran loyalists have also joined hands with them.

“I wasn’t at my house for the past five months […] and for the last few weeks, I wasn’t even in contact with my family,” Habib told journalists.

“Since May 9, we did not face the law and were away from our houses. For the past five months, I was constantly pondering whether I joined politics for this reason,” he said.

During the press conference, Farrukh Habib highlighted a series of grievances with the PTI’s leadership, citing instances where he felt the party had deviated from its ethical and moral compass. He criticized the PTI chief for allegedly accepting gifts from the Toshakhana despite previously condemning similar actions by other political leaders.

“I realised that we took our real struggle to the path of violence. We stepped away from Pakistan which was envisioned by Quaid-e-Azam,” he said.

Habib recalled that the PTI government was ousted via a vote of no-confidence constitutionally, but regretted that the party did not wait peacefully after that. Expressing his perspective, he said the PTI should have opted for a “democratic struggle” and waited for elections.

“But you opted for violent resistance. We have faced beatings as youth leaders but we never opted for a violent approach. We used to work so dedicatedly for our vision,” Habib said. “But if you look at that struggle and compare it with the post-May 9 violence, you will see a difference.

“There were messages for people to take to the streets and their minds were hijacked. Their sentiments were provoked that Pakistan’s institutions are working against them,” he claimed.

Habib stated that “a message of hatred” was run on television all the time and a “bullet approach instead of ballot approach” was taken.

Habib’s decision to join the IPP follows a series of similar defections from the PTI in recent weeks, suggesting internal upheavals within the party ranks. The former minister’s remarks resonated with similar sentiments expressed by other estranged PTI members who have found a common cause in the IPP.