Chaudhry, senior vice president of PTI, left the party, Secretary General Umar resigned from the post.
Islamabad, Pakistan – A senior vice president of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (Pakistan Movement for Justice, PTI) quit the party while its secretary general resigned from his post, marking another blow to embattled ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Fawad Chaudhry, the senior vice president and a former federal minister, tweeted that he was “estranged” from Khan and the party.
“I have decided to quit politics, therefore, I have resigned from the party position and separated from Imran Khan,” Chaudhry wrote.
A few hours later, during a news conference in the capital Islamabad, Asad Umar announced that he would also resign from his leadership position but added that he would remain a member of the PTI.
“Due to the events of May 9, it is not possible for me to continue in the leadership position of the party so I have resigned from the position of secretary general and my membership of the core committee,” said Umar, who was released from a two-week prison earlier in the evening.
Ref. My first statement where I clearly condemned the incidents of May 9, I decided to quit politics, therefore, I resigned from the party position and separated from Imran Khan
– Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) May 24, 2023
With their resignations, Chaudhry and Umar join more than two dozen other leaders from ex-PM Khan’s PTI who have left their posts or left the party since his arrest earlier this month.
On Tuesday, former Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari quit the PTI after being jailed several times since May 12, when she was first arrested for the deadly protests that followed Khan’s arrest.
Chaudhry and Umar were also arrested in Islamabad on May 10 on charges related to public order. Chaudhry told reporters after his release a week ago that he condemned the violence caused by Khan’s arrest.
“Pakistan exists because the Pakistan Army exists, and we have to make our policies keeping this point of view at the forefront,” Chaudhry told reporters after his release.
During his news conference on Wednesday, Umar also condemned the violence.
“Almost everyone condemned what happened on May 9, but I want to talk about why those incidents are dangerous in the country. Lives were lost, people were injured, and state and private properties were damaged,” he said.
“But the most dangerous thing is that the installations associated with the army are attacked.”
As many politicians jumped in, PTI chief Khan tweeted: “We all have heard about forced marriages in Pakistan but for PTI a new phenomenon has emerged, forced divorces.”
We all have heard about forced marriages in Pakistan but for PTI a new phenomenon has emerged, forced divorces.
Also wondering where all the human rights organizations in the country have gone.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) May 23, 2023
The defections compound Khan’s problems as the 70-year-old politician battles more than 100 legal charges and tries to avoid re-arrest.
Speaking to reporters at a court in Islamabad on Tuesday, Khan alleged that his party leaders were forced to leave, without saying who did it.
“People didn’t quit, they were forced to leave the party to be shot,” he said. “Political parties cannot be broken by such tactics.”