Exodus of leaders won’t affect PTI vote bank, says Asad Umar

Awais Yousafzai
May 29, 2023

PTI leader granted protective bail till Thursday in terrorism case related to May 9 mayhem

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Former PTI secretary general Asad Umar speaks to the media in Karachi on September 3, 2022. — INP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Asad Umar, who recently stepped down from all party positions including the secretary general, has said that the vote bank will not be affected by desertions of party leaders triggered by the 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.

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