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Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Asad Umar to make decision between PTI and freedom?

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It seems that pressure is racking up on PTI as it apparently faces strict action for the May 9th protests that sparked across Pakistan in response to PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s arrest in the Al-Qadir Trust case.

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) ordered the release of Secretary General Asad Umar while declaring his arrest under Section 3 of Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) null and void. However, the IHC also directed the PTI leader to delete two tweets.

According to the details, Asad Umar was taken into custody from the IHC premises under the MPO on May 10, a day after protests broke out across the country against PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s arrest.

Read more: Members forced to quit PTI at ‘gunpoint’ – Imran Khan alleges

During today’s hearing, the court directed Asad Umar to submit an undertaking for not becoming a part of violent protests. IHC’s Justice Mian Gul Hassan also told Asad Umar to “forget” his political career in case he deviates from the undertaking.

Furthermore, the IHC judge, Justice Miangul Aurangzeb remarked that “they will not let you go until you hold a press conference”. The remarks by the IHC judge are going viral on social media as they come amid a series of resignations of PTI members from the party and even politics.

Will Asad Umar also quit PTI?

To clarify, Pakistan’s most popular political party, PTI, is going through a rough patch as members jump ship at an alarming rate after the May 9th protests. Several key PTI figures have called it quits, with the latest being Shireen Mazari.

Shireen Mazari’s sudden resignation has sparked speculation that she was forced to leave PTI. This is because a trend has been witnessed in Pakistan which has given rise to speculations that pressure tactics are being applied on PTI members to jump ship as several have announced their resignations in press conferences.

PTI Chairman and former Prime Minister Imran Khan has also alleged that members are being forced to quit the party at ‘gunpoint’. After Shireen Mazari’s resignation, Imran Khan termed PTI leaders’ exodus as ‘forced divorces’.

Read more: Members forced to quit PTI at ‘gunpoint’ – Imran Khan alleges

Following the May 9th protests against Imran Khan’s arrest, several PTI leaders including Shireen Mazari, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, and Asad Umar were arrested under the Maintenance of Public Order ordinance. Shireen Mazari was granted bail by courts on multiple occasions but was re-arrested immediately every time.

After her recent release, Shireen Mazari announced her resignation from PTI and politics saying she had taken the decision after the ordeal of her 12 days under arrest and the effect it had on her health.

Similarly, Shah Mahmood Qureshi was also re-arrested last night after his release from Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail. He has been put under house arrest. Pertinent to mention that the former Foreign Minister has asserted that he will remain with the party.

Read more: Will Shah Mahmood Qureshi also quit PTI?

Musarrat Cheema and Jamshed Cheema – who also announced their resignation from PTI – have been placed under house arrest for 15 days.

Now Asad Umar has been asked to delete his tweets and the unusual remarks reportedly made by the IHC judge have given rise to speculations that PTI senior leader Asad Umar may be forced to make a very difficult decision soon. It remains to be seen whether Asad Umar too will jump ship or will remain in PTI.