Nawab Sanaullah Zehri, a senior leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), has quit the party on Saturday accusing Nawaz Sharif of “betraying all those who stood by him through testing times”.

“From today, Nawaz Sharif is our political opponent,” said Nawab Zehri while announcing his resignation from the PML-N’s Central Executive Committee. “I’ll chalk out future course of action after consulting my friends and aides.”

Zehri, a former chief minister of Balochistan, is the second PML-N leader to have resigned from the party. Last week Lt Gen (retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch quit the party “in protest against Nawaz Sharif’s anti-military narrative”, though the party sought to give it different colour.

He said that he has “broken the shackles” and now he and his followers would expose the “real face of Nawaz Sharif” to the people of Balochistan. “Balochistan belongs to us and we’ll prove this.”

Nawab Zehri mocked Nawaz Sharif for conveniently striking deals to get himself out of difficult situations. At the same time he heaped praise on the late PPP founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto for staying put in the face of imminent death.

“He [Bhutto] refused to bend and file a mercy petition to dictator Gen Ziaul Haq and preferred death,” Nawab Zehri said while calling it the “true character of a real leader”.

“A deserter doesn’t deserve to be called leader,” he said while referring to Nawaz Sharif who has been declared “proclaimed offender” by courts after his refusal to return and serve out seven-year sentence awarded to him in a corruption case. “He should return to Pakistan and fight,” Nawab Zehri added.