Friday September 22, 2023

PTI vote bank to remain intact despite mass departure: Umar

PTI leader insists it does not make any difference “whether someone stays or leaves”

May 29, 2023
Former federal minister for planning and development, Asad Umar. — AFP/File
Former federal minister for planning and development, Asad Umar. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Asad Umar has said that party’s vote bank will remain intact despite the mass departure of leaders including bigwigs after May 9 vandalism.

“The [party] vote bank is only due to Imran Khan. It does not make any difference whether someone stays or leaves,” he said while speaking to reporters outside the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday.

Responding to a question related to the party leaders making similar statements while quitting the former ruling party, the PTI leader said his news conference was different as he only resigned from the party positions, unlike his colleagues who parted ways with Khan.

The PTI chairman’s arrest on May 9 ignited almost countrywide violent protests and unruly protesters also attacked military and public installations which prompted the civil and military leadership to take stern action against the rioters including trial under the Army Act.

Since then, dozens of party leaders including Shireen Mazari, Ali Zaidi, and Fawad Chaudhry among others have parted ways with Khan citing attacks on the military installations as the reason.

Umar also denied the reports that he was going to part ways with the PTI, saying: “I am in the party, no matter how many times you ask [same question].”

Meanwhile, the IHC approved Umar’s protective bail in a terrorism case registered for alleged involvement in the May 9 vandalism against a surety bond of Rs25,000.

The IHC division bench comprising Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani and Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri directed the senior PTI leader to approach the relevant court by Thursday (June 1) as the case against Umar lodged in the Gulberg police station in Lahore.

He was released from the Adiala Jail on May 24 after the IHC order declared his arrest under Section 3 of Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) null and void.

He was taken into custody from the IHC premises under the MPO on May 10, a day after violence erupted amid countrywide protests against the PTI chairman's arrest in the Al-Qadir Trust case.