ISLAMABAD: Following the resignation of a series of high-profile leaders, PTI’s Secretary General Asad Umar also quit the party positions on Wednesday while Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry announced dissociation with Imran Khan, dealing a major blow to the beleaguered Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
Their announcements came a day after Dr Shireen Mazari and Fayyazul Hassan Chohan resigned from the party.
Asad Umar announced the decision in a press conference here hours after he was released from the Adiala Jail on the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) order. “Given the current situation […] after May 9, it is not personally possible for me to continue as the party’s secretary general. I am not quitting the party but would no longer remain a part of the core committee. “I am resigning as the secretary general of PTI and as the core committee member. “Another reason is that I want to talk openly about what needs to be done… but when you are in a leadership position, it is not [apt] that you give your individual opinion. “So I am resigning from these party positions.”
Earlier in the day, the court had directed the PTI leader to submit an undertaking that he would not become a part of violent protests following his release. He was arrested under Section 3 of the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO). Asad, along with other PTI leaders, was arrested hours after violent riots erupted across the country following Imran Khan’s arrest on May 9 in the Al-Qadir Trust case. Declaring Asad’s arrest null and void, IHC judge Justice Mian Gul Hassan Aurangzeb told the PTI leader to “forget” his political career in case he deviated from the undertaking. The court also directed him to delete two tweets. Asad Umar said the scenes witnessed on May 9 were not just condemnable but also a moment of reflection that why such a situation arose. “And the message sent outside the country was also concerning,” he maintained.
However, prior to announcing his resignation from party positions, the PTI leader highlighted the importance of the army for the country and said the armed forces’ strength was signified by not just its weapons but the nation’s support for it. He said that we would have seen a similar fate to Syria’s if it was not for a strong army like ours. Umar contended that thousands of workers were presently under arrest as per his knowledge. “And obviously most of them are innocent. So, releasing them at the earliest is also necessary. I believe that a transparent probe should be conducted into the May 9 events. And those responsible should face action,” he emphasized. Asad said that he was arrested on May 10 and he was in solitary confinement since then. “The incidents that took place on May 9 have been condemned by all the people. I want to go into details because these incidents are dangerous for the country.” He said the army was not the name of two or three generals but it was made up of lakhs of jawans who put their lives at stake for our safety. “I have been associated with the army for three generations and I am proud of it. There is a lot of time to think in jail, there is division in the higher judiciary and the whole country is watching; the judiciary decides but it is not implemented,” he noted.
Similarly, PTI’s SVP Fawad Chaudhary announced his decision of saying goodbye to the party on Twitter. He had joined the PTI in June 2016. “Ref. my earlier statement where I unequivocally condemned 9th May incidents, I have decided to take a break from politics; therefore, I have resigned from the party position and am parting ways from Imran Khan,” he tweeted. From 2008 to May 24, 2023, Fawad parted ways with four political parties — All Pakistan Muslim League, PPP, PML-Q and PTI. According to his tweet, he had no immediate plan to join any other party and wanted a break from his political innings.
Meanwhile, PTI leader Jamshed Iqbal Cheema’s family has claimed that he and his wife Musarrat Jamshed Cheema were still with Imran Khan. According to the Cheema family, the couple has been in detention and not allowed to see each other. The family said Jamshed Cheema had not issued any statement about quitting the PTI. On the other hand, PTI’s Additional Secretary General Omar Ayub wrote on his Twitter account, “7 of my innocent staff members abducted by Islamabad Police Shalimar Thana (as can be seen on the Police Mobile) are still missing since 10pm last night when heavily armed Islamabad Police conducted an illegal search of my house without a search warrant!! If Islamabad Police have become a declared abduction for ransom force, then the courts should simply free all the criminals. When innocent citizens are abducted by a rogue police force and kept in illegal confinement, then it means that there is no ‘Rule Of Law’. Will the Judiciary take notice??? Shame on you PDM Govt members — just remember that the wheel does not take long to turn”.
Meanwhile, PTI Information Secretary Farrukh Habib claimed that the telecom sector was ordered to shut down internet at the Zaman Park. “The telecom sector has received orders to shut down data services internet within the 5km radius of Zaman Park Lahore,” Farrukh Habib said.
At the same time, PTI leader Murad Saeed has written to the Chief Justice of Pakistan that a plan is being prepared to kill him, responsibility for which will rest with the party leadership. He has requested the chief justice of Pakistan to ensure the protection of fundamental constitutional rights. In a related development, PTI’s disgruntled leader Jahangir Tareen has set up his camp in Lahore. Sources said Tareen had met 20 important politicians in a week, raising suspicions that a forward bloc could emerge in the PTI. Tareen held the PTI Chairman Imran Khan and party leaders responsible for the Jinnah House attack. The former PTI leader visited the Jinnah House where he spoke to the media and condemned the attack. Tareen said he got the chance to visit the Jinnah House and it had deeply saddened him to see how the place was vandalised.
Meanwhile, former PTI leader Usman Khan Tarakai joined the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) along with family members and friends. He formally made this announcement at a news conference. PPP leader and Minister of State for Poverty Alleviation Faisal Karim Kundi, President PPP Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Muhammad Ali Bacha and PPP’s Media Coordinator Nazir Domki accompanied him.
After joining the PPP, Usman Khan Tarakai called on Chairman PPP and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. Bilawal welcomed Usman Khan Tarakai for joining the PPP. Tarakai, who left the PTI a couple of days ago, invited the chairman of PPP to address a rally in Swabi, which was accepted.
Earlier, addressing a press conference, Faisal Karim Kundi said on behalf of former president PPP Parliamentarians President Asif Ali Zardari, PPP Chairman and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and other leaders, they welcomed Tarakai for joining the PPP. “The PPP is like a family; Tarakai will get respect here,” he said.
Kundi said Bilawal addressed a rally in Bagh, Azad Kashmir, against India for holding a meeting of G20 Conference in the Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
“Pakistan is grateful to the countries that refused to participate in the G20. Even today, we have the same position that there should be a referendum in Kashmir and Kashmiris will decide their fate,” he said.
He said Bilawal visited India despite the Rs20 million head money announced by the BJP. “He raised his voice against the atrocities of India against the innocent Kashmiris and it hurts Modi and PTI in Pakistan,” he said.
Kundi said those involved in the May 9 incidents should be severely punished. “The PPP has never raised its voice against the state or attacked the state properties,” he said. He said the journey of Imran Khan that started with the American conspiracy ended with American slavery and that this whole game was made to please America.
He said the solution to every problem was dialogue. “Instead of the American Congressmen, talk to the people of Pakistan,” he said.
He said Fayyaz-ul-Hasan Chohan stated in his press conference that Imran Khan had incited his workers against the army and Chohan’s press conference was a charge sheet against him. “Imran Khan only cares about himself and his wife… Imran Khan made fun of other people’s illness but kept walking around with a cast in his leg,” he said.