In the wake of a series of resignations by prominent leaders, Asad Umar, the Secretary General of PTI, also stepped down from his party positions on Wednesday. This move was followed by Fawad Chaudhry, the Senior Vice President, announcing his dissociation from Imran Khan, dealing a significant blow to the troubled Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party.
These announcements came a day after Dr. Shireen Mazari and Fayyazul Hassan Chohan resigned from the party. Asad Umar made the decision public during a press conference shortly after being released from Adiala Jail upon the Islamabad High Court’s order. He clarified that he was not quitting the party entirely but would no longer be a part of the core committee or continue as the party’s secretary general. Umar expressed his desire to openly discuss necessary actions but felt limited in doing so while holding a leadership position. Hence, he resigned from these party positions.
Earlier in the day, the court had instructed Asad Umar to provide an undertaking stating that he would refrain from participating in violent protests following his release. He had been arrested under Section 3 of the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO). Declaring his arrest null and void, the IHC judge advised Umar to abandon his political career if he deviated from the undertaking. Additionally, the court instructed him to delete two tweets. Asad Umar expressed condemnation for the events of May 9, reflecting on their gravity and the concerning message they conveyed internationally.
Before announcing his resignation from party positions, Asad Umar emphasized the significance of the army for the country, stating that its strength is derived not only from weapons but also from the nation’s support. He speculated that the country could have faced a fate similar to Syria’s without a strong army. Umar noted that numerous workers were currently under arrest, with many being innocent. He stressed the importance of releasing them promptly and conducting a transparent investigation into the events of May 9 to hold those responsible accountable. Asad Umar further highlighted his longstanding association with the army and expressed pride in it. He acknowledged the challenges faced in jail, including division within the higher judiciary and the need for implemented judicial decisions.
Similarly, Fawad Chaudhry, the SVP of PTI, announced his departure from the party via Twitter. He had joined PTI in June 2016. Chaudhry cited his unequivocal condemnation of the incidents on May 9 and declared his decision to take a break from politics. Consequently, he resigned from his party position and parted ways with Imran Khan. Notably, Chaudhry had previously been associated with four other political parties before joining PTI.
Meanwhile, the family of PTI leader Jamshed Iqbal Cheema claimed that he and his wife Musarrat Jamshed Cheema remained aligned with Imran Khan. According to them, the couple had been in detention without permission to see each other. They stated that Jamshed Cheema had not issued any statement regarding quitting PTI. PTI’s Additional Secretary General, Omar Ayub, posted on Twitter, expressing concern over the abduction of seven of his innocent staff members by the Islamabad Police. He criticized the police’s illegal search of his house without a warrant, questioning the rule of law and urging the judiciary to take notice.
Additionally, Murad Saeed, another PTI leader, wrote to the Chief Justice of Pakistan, alleging a plan to assassinate him, for which he held the party leadership responsible. He requested the chief justice to ensure the protection of his fundamental constitutional rights. In a related development, Jahangir Tareen, a disgruntled PTI leader, established a camp in Lahore and met with several politicians.