As Asad Umar, Fawad Ch jump ship, Imran offers olive branch

— PTI suffers major blows as party’s top leadership part ways

— ‘Crackdown on PTI workers continues unabated’

ISLAMABAD: Though former premier and chairman Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan on Wednesday reiterated his offer to initiate dialogue with the concerned quarters, the PTI suffered another major blow as PTI Secretary General Asad Umar and former federal minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain on Wednesday announced to resign.

“[With] ref[erence] to my earlier statement where I unequivocally condemned 9th May incidents, I have decided to take a break from politics, therefore, I have resigned from party position and parting ways from Imran Khan,” Fawad wrote on his official Twitter handle.

 

Hours later, Asad Umar followed the course by announcing to step down from all party positions shortly after he was released from Adiala Jail. Though journalists had already got a hint of Umar’s parting plans as the party’s secretary-general dodged media and left Adiala jail silently.

“Not possible for me to lead the party under these circumstances. I am resigning as Secretary General and core committee member of PTI,” he said while addressing the press conference at the National Press Club later in the day.

However, Asad clarified that he has not left the party but only resigned as the secretary general of the party. He said that the most dangerous thing that happened on May 9 was that military installations were attacked.

He said that the incidents of May 9 are not only condemnable, but also a point to ponder on where we have come.

“I feel like there should be transparent investigation into those involved in these incidents. But also the innocent, thousands of PTI workers and supporters were arrested, a lot of those who are innocent… it is also important that they are released as soon as possible,” he added.

In response to a question, Umar clarified that he has not abandoned the party entirely but rather resigned from his role as the secretary general. He emphasised that his decision was voluntary and not influenced by any ‘external pressure’.

Asad Umar said that the army does not comprise just a few generals whose names are heard on TV, but thousands of soldiers who sacrifice their lives for the safety of the nation.

“My family has been affiliated with the army for the last three generations. From the 1965 war to the war on terror, members of my family have been participating in these wars over the year,” he added.

The PTI leader said that an army is only powerful when the nation stands behind it but what was seen on May 9 is concerning.

“It gave a very wrong message… a transparent investigation should take place and those involved should be taken to task. But those who are innocent should be freed.”

According to the PTI leader, thousands of party workers were imprisoned, but a significant portion of them were innocent. Nevertheless, he acknowledged the importance of holding accountable those individuals who were involved in acts of vandalism.

Fawad and Asad Umar join a long list of PTI leaders who have announced quitting PTI following the May 9 vandalism and violent protests across the country — hours after the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) arrested PTI chief Imran Khan in the Al-Qadir Trust corruption case.

So far Dr Shireen Mazari, Malik Amin Aslam, Mahmood Moulvi, Amir Kayani, Aftab Siddiqui, Fayyazul Hassan Chohan, Jai Prakash and Sanjay Gangwani among many others have left Imran Khan’s party.

Imran Khan offers olive branch   

Meanwhile, Imran Khan has said that he is ready to constitute a committee for talks with “anyone who is in power today”.

“I am making this committee and I say two things: If they tell the committee that they have a solution and the country can function better without me. Or they tell the committee what benefit will Pakistan gain from holding elections in October,” he said while addressing a press conference.

“Convince us on these two things. I am forming a committee and I will announce this tomorrow.”

PTI chief Imran Khan has said that it is better to die than accept slavery.

“This slavery that they making us do … the way they are gripping necks and forcing them to leave PTI. You were not born for this … when the nation bows its head in front of fear, those nations die.”

He told supporters that he won’t lose hope and will stand till the last bowl. “I want to tell my nation that you should not accept defeat in any way.”

Mian Abrar
Mian Abrar
The writer heads Pakistan Today's Islamabad Bureau. He has a special focus on counter-terrorism and inter-state relations in Asia, Asia Pacific and South East Asia regions. He tweets as @mian_abrar and also can be reached at [email protected]

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