Lahore - Estranged Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Lt-Gen (retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch on Saturday announced he was partying ways with the party, saying he could not be part of a group speaking against Pakistan Army.

“I can never think of staying with a group talking against Pakistan Army,” said Abdul Qadir Baloch, who had retired as a Lt Gen in the army.

Defending the army, Baloch said that it was because of the army that there was peace in Balochistan, adding that the country is “nothing without the army”.

Addressing a gathering in Quetta on Saturday, Baloch, who was president of PML-N’s Balochistan chapter, said he had earned all the respect and honour while serving in the armed forces of the country.

“I am what I am today only because of army. We at the [military] academy are taught to do or die [for the country]… how can I be part of a group that blurts out venom against its own armed forces? If I have to stand with someone, I will stand with my chief,” he said.

Former Balochistan chief minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri and a larger number of PML-N workers attended the workers’ convention held at the Metropolitan Hall of Quetta.

Nawab Zehri has already quit the party, accusing Nawaz Sharif of “betraying all those who stood by him through testing times”.

Lt-Gen (retd) Baloch said another reason for his resignation came in the wake of PML-N’s controversial decision of not inviting Nawab Zehri to the recently held Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) rally in the provincial capital of Balochistan.

If there is peace in Balochistan it is only due to our armed forces

He also mentioned several instants wherein he was not consulted by the PML-N senior leadership over issues related to Balochistan.

Baloch recalled how Maryam Nawaz, “who now dreams of becoming the prime minister or acts like Benazir Bhutto,” once asked him to arrange a meeting with female workers. During the meeting, he claimed, Maryam even refused to shake hands with the party’s female workers, who came to attend the gathering from far-flung areas.

“I was so embarrassed as I had personally requested these workers, being members of a conservative society, to attend the event.”

PML-N supremo Nawaz also acted in the same arrogant attitude throughout his political career, he claimed.

People of Balochistan were used only to build his vote bank, but were never given their due share while the PML-N was in power, Baloch maintained.

The disgruntled leader said Nawab Zehri and he were among the pioneers in establishing PML-N across Balochistan, and even gave sacrifice of several of their close family members for the party.

“Representatives from all 33 districts of Balochistan are present here and they are not ready to continue to work with the PML-N anymore,” Baloch said.

He recalled that Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) and National Party (NP) had nominated Nawab Sanaullah Zehri as the chief minister with consensus. However, at the eleventh hour, Nawaz Sharif rejected the decision and nominated Dr Malik Baloch for the post.

“We stood by the party despite all this,” he said.

Balochistan PML-N vice-president Nawab Shambazai, women wing president Amna Baloch, Makran Division president Agha Shah Hussain and other leaders also announced their resignations from the party on the occasion.