Omar Ayub resigns as PTI’s secretary general

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Omar Ayub resigns as PTI’s secretary general

ISLAMABAD, JUN 28: In a significant development, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Secretary General Omar Ayub Khan resigned from his party positions, lending credence to reports of fissures within the party ranks.

Sources in the PTI told Dawn that Omar Ayub, who is also leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, submitted his resignation on June 22, which has been accepted by founding chairman Imran Khan.

The move came as a surprise, even for some PTI insiders, who said they thought the founder would not accept the resignation and ask Omar Ayub to continue in his position.

In his resignation, shared by Omar Ayub on his official X (formerly Twitter) handle, Mr Omar wrote that it was not possible for him to continue working as the party’s secretary general and also justify his job as opposition leader in the National Assembly.

He also indicated that he would be stepping down as chairman of the PTI’s Central Finance Board, but maintained that he would continue as a party worker.

“I tried to perform to the best of my abilities during very tumultuous times and learnt a tremendous amount under your dynamic leadership… PTI family members have endured tremendous hardships in the last 2 years but have not flinched,” he stated in the resignation add­ressed to Imran Khan, a copy of which was also sent to party chairman Barrister Gohar Khan.

“I feel that I cannot do justice to the office of the secretary general as I have [also] been nominated by you as the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly. Both positions demand complete attention and given the parliamentary workload in addition to the commitments of the constituency I represent in the National Assembly, I feel that another person should be the secretary general to organise the party structure and work under your guidance to prepare PTI for the elections in the near future,” he wrote.

Omar Ayub, who was re-elected as secretary general of the PTI last month, has quit at a time when the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has yet to declare its latest intra-party elections ‘legitimate’. Moreover, the Supreme Court is still hearing a case regarding the allocation of reserved seats to its lawmakers in the national and provincial assemblies.

The development also follows media reports that a forward bloc, consisting of party dissidents in the National Assembly, may be in the offing.

In recent weeks, party leaders such as Shahryar Afridi, Shandana Gulzar and Sher Afzal Marwat and even former PTI spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry have gone public with their grievances against the party’s leadership, especially their inability to secure the release of Imran Khan.

Talking to Dawn on Thursday, Mr Chaudhry said no one in the current party leadership had the “political stature” or the ability to mobilise the masses as Imran Khan did. Moreover, he said, the present leadership had failed in its efforts to form an alliance with other opposition parties, such as the JUI-, PkMAP, GDA or Jamaat-i-Islami.

He opined that the new party leadership had failed to fill the vacuum left by the incarceration of leaders such as Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Parvez Elahi. He also criticised them for opposing the return of party old guard, such as himself, by labelling them “traitors”.

Mr Chaudhry claimed there were people in the party who did not want to see Imran Khan out of jail as that would spell the end of their political careers.