Former Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s defectors form new political party in latest setback

A group of politicians that have quit former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s political party announced a new group, in the latest setback for the leader confronting Pakistan’s powerful army.
Jahangir Khan Tareen, once considered the closest aide to Khan, will lead the Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party, he announced at a news conference on Thursday.
“We have to take Pakistan out of the prevailing chaos, which is destroying the country,” said Tareen. “Pakistan today needs leadership which can end political and social divisions and promote unity and harmony.”
The political crisis is unfolding as Pakistan grapples with its worst economic distress in decades with low foreign reserves, record inflation and interest rates, and a stalled aid package from the International Monetary Fund.
Khan has seen a crackdown on his political party with thousands of supporters arrested and dozens of parliament members quitting after serving a brief time in jail last month. Khan told Bloomberg News in an interview this month that the military is looking to “crush” his political party and stop it from winning national elections scheduled for later this year.
Though the military was seen as instrumental in bringing Khan to power in 2018, relations soured in late 2021 and he was ousted in a no-confidence vote in April 2022. He also accused the military of being part of a plan to remove him from power and identified a senior officer of plotting to assassinate him, allegations the generals have persistently denied.