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PTI blasts Asad Umar after he criticised party chief’s policies



  • Ambiguity, confusion evident in Asad Umar’s thoughts: PTI.
  • Umar can justify his decision, but should not ignore facts, says PTI.
  • “I do not agree with PTI chairman’s current strategy, Umar says.

Hours after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Asad Umar criticised his leader Imran Khan for refusing to negotiate with the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), the party has hit back at the senior leader, accusing him of being “confused” and “self-serving”.

A scathing two-page-long statement was issued by the party’s media department on Twitter late last night following the former secretary general’s interview in which he criticised the policies adopted by the PTI chief.

“Ambiguity and confusion are evident in Asad Umar’s thoughts; Asad Umar’s claims that he stepped down from the duties of secretary general due to disagreements over the chairman’s strategy appear to contradict reality,” the statement read.

“If Asad Umar disagreed with the decisions of the chairman or the party and did not think it appropriate to go through with them, he should have parted ways [from PTI],” it stated, adding that he “remembered to resign” only now that the party is being targeted under a plan.

“His personal interest may be hidden in it, but not the party’s,” the statement alleged.

Furthermore, the statement took issue with Umar’s claims that the party had refused to negotiate: “Umar, as Secretary General, is well aware of the numerous efforts made to discuss national issues with these political parties.

“Asad Umar himself used to take this position that whenever he tried to talk to these parties, they did not discuss any agenda other than the acquisition of NRO.”

Attacking the leaders of other political parties, the statement contended that the reason for the fruitless termination of the talks was not PTI but the other side’s reluctance to contest elections for fear of defeat.

The statement maintained that PTI had shown great flexibility within the ambit of the Constitution.

“So Asad Umar can justify his indefensible decision but should avoid ignoring the facts.

If Asad Umar had taken a principled stand and decided to secede before the hard times fell on the party, perhaps there would have been more weight in his words,” the statement concluded.

‘Big mistake’

While talking to a private TV channel on Monday, Umar said his party’s refusal to negotiate with the PDM was a “big mistake”.

“While PTI is a political reality that polled 16.8 million votes, the PDM made it to parliament with 22.5 million votes,” he said.

The PTI leader — who resigned from the position of the party’s secretary general following the May 9 riots — further remarked that blaming some personalities of an institution was akin to blaming not only that institution but also the entire nation.

“May 9 was a wake-up call, and everyone must take two steps back,” he said.

However, Umar also expressed reservations about the PTI chairman’s current course of action during the interview.

“I do not agree with the current strategy of the PTI chairman,” he said.

However, I have no intention of doing politics in any other party except the PTI. The vote bank belongs only to Imran Khan and not any other party leader. If Imran Khan himself decides to be minus, then the party may disappear, Umar added.

The PTI stalwart also came down hard on those siding with the PTI chief and said: “Those who are telling Khan what he is doing is excellent and that he has to stand his ground have, in fact, no good intentions for the PTI chairman.”

He further claimed that the party’s senior political leadership was ignored during the decision-making.

“We should have taken the election date that the government was giving us,” he said, adding that around 80% of PTI MNAs were against resigning from their seats.

Two days after the PTI chairman was ousted as the prime minister in April 2022 — through a no-confidence motion moved by the then-opposition — all PTI MNAs resigned en masse on April 11. 

However, last month the Lahore High Court declared “null and void” the acceptance of the resignations of 72 PTI members of the National Assembly, including Fawad Chaudhry, Hammad Azhar, and Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

Umar revealed that when the election date was under discussion, there was a meeting in which almost all the party’s senior leadership except the PTI chief was present.

“Everyone except Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the proposed election date should be accepted,” he said.

Moreover, the PTI leader added that given where the country is, it has become a responsibility to say what is better for the country.

“It is not easy, but it needs ethical courage,” he said, adding that he talked to the party’s senior leadership over this matter but was not heard.

“I take no responsibility for this crisis within the party. In my opinion, Imran Khan should prepare himself for modification in his current stance,” he said.

“The people decide the future of a leader,” Umar remarked, adding that this does not mean a leader who has committed a crime should be forgiven; he must be punished.

He said the PTI supporters would not support his arguments, but he would defend himself.

He denied making any deal but admitted receiving invitations from multiple sources from one party.

“I won’t join any other political party. I joined the PTI because the party sent those to the Houses who had not even thought of entering them. I won’t practically contest election from any party,” he reiterated.

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