Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan faced another setback as Asad Umar, the head of his economic team and a close aide, resigned from all party positions. Umar, who served as the Secretary General of Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, made the announcement shortly after his release from Adiala Jail on Wednesday. He clarified that his resignation was not due to pressure but rather an inability to lead the party under the current circumstances.
According to the reports by The News, Umar emphasized that he had not left the PTI but had only resigned from his party positions. He expressed concerns about the violent events on May 9, particularly the attacks on military installations. He quoted Imran Khan's previous remarks about the importance of a strong army for Pakistan's stability.
Umar's resignation followed the resignation of former information minister Fawad Chaudhry and former minister for human rights Shireen Mazari. Mazari had condemned the actions of the former prime minister's supporters who attacked and destroyed defense installations across Pakistan on May 9.
The protests erupted after Khan's arrest by paramilitary Rangers from the premises of the Islamabad High Court. In response to the arrest, PTI workers vandalized multiple military installations, including the Lahore Corps Commander's House, the Mianwali airbase, and the ISI building in Faisalabad. The Army headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi was also stormed by the mob for the first time.
The clashes resulted in casualties, with the death toll reported as 10 by the police and 40 claimed by Khan's party. Thousands of Khan's supporters were arrested following the violence. Umar called for a transparent investigation into the incidents and the release of innocent PTI workers and supporters.
While Khan described the resignations as "forced divorces" at "gunpoint," political experts suggest that it may be an attempt to factionalize the PTI. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif announced that those involved in the attacks on military installations would be tried in military courts, while those charged with attacks on civilian targets would face prosecution under civilian laws.
There have been discussions within the government about a possible ban on Khan's PTI party due to the attacks by his supporters on military installations following his arrest.
Imran Khan was removed from power in April of the previous year after losing a no-confidence vote. He alleged that his removal was part of a US-led conspiracy against him due to his independent foreign policy decisions.
Asad Umar's resignation from the PTI leadership positions comes in the midst of ongoing unrest and criticism directed at the party following the May 9 violence.
(With PTI Inputs)