Umar, Qaiser ‘not in contact’ with Tareen

ISLAMABAD, June 06: Asad Umar and Asad Qaiser—two senior Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders who have not quit the party like dozens of other in the wake of a government crackdown—have categorically said they are “not in contact with” Jahangir Tareen, a former PTI secretary general who is reportedly busy in cobbling together a party of his own.

“I have no contact with Jahangir Tareen,” said Asad Umar on Monday while responding to a question asked by a journalist outside a sessions court in Islamabad.

“I get in touch with Fawad Chaudhry, however, every so often,” Umar admitted candidly.

Fawad, who served as a federal minister for information during most part of the PTI’s rule, announced leaving the party as well as politics after authorities booked him in several cases for allegedly instigating violence after the arrest of the PTI chief on May 9.

On May 24, Umar also announced stepping down from all party positions including that of the PTI secretary general. However, he clarified that he was not leaving the party.

As the former ruling party started showing signs of disintegration, dozens of PTI leaders jumped ship with a majority of them rallying around Tareen.

According to reports, Tareen has decided to form a new political party and that two former PTI leaders, Fawad Chaudhry and Shaukat Tarin, have contacted him. When a journalist quipped if Tareen was going to rejoin the PTI, Umar retorted that they did not have “a relationship” with each other.

In response to another question about Faisal Vawda — a former PTI leader who has turned his back on the party and joined political foes in criticising it for its anti-army rhetoric—Umar said he had “no idea” whose side Vowda was on.

Separately, senior PTI leader and former National Assembly speaker Asad Qaiser also told media persons on Monday that he was not in contact with Jehangir Tareen. “I am in the PTI only,” he added.

Qaiser was speaking to media persons outside a district and sessions court in Islamabad, where, he said, he appeared in connection with four cases. He said he is in contact with the party chief and confirmed that the PTI was serious about negotiations.

However, when asked about Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah’s recent statement, wherein he said that the deposed prime minister must call incumbent Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif directly if he truly desires a dialogue, Qaiser questioned how negotiations could take place in the current situation.

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