In the latest blow to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Senior Vice-President Fawad Chaudhry and Secretary General Asad Umer Wednesday announced their departure from the party. “[With] reference] to my earlier statement where I unequivocally condemned 9th May incidents, I have decided to take a break from politics, therefore, I have resigned from party position and parting ways from Imran Khan,” he wrote on his official Twitter handle. Fawad – a politician hailing from Jhelum – is a vocal critic of the incumbent rulers and a close aide of the PTI chief. He had also served as the information and law minister during his party’s government. The PTI stalwart’s decision came a week after he was released from police custody on the Islamabad High Court (IHC) order and termed the May 9 events “extremely shameful”. “Pakistan exists because the Pakistan Army exists and we must devise our policies keeping this point of view at the front,” the seasoned politician said while speaking with journalists outside the IHC post-midnight on May 17. Fawad joins a long list of PTI leaders who have announced quitting PTI following the May 9 vandalism and violent protests across the country – hours after the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) arrested PTI chief Imran Khan in the Al-Qadir Trust corruption case. Meanwhile, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) Secretary General Asad Umar, while strongly condemning the May 9 riots, announced his resignation from the party position and membership of the Core Committee. Addressing a press conference, he said after the tragic events of May 9, it was not possible for him to keep the leadership positions in the party. “I am quitting as the party’s Secretary General as well as members of its Core Committee,” he added. Asad Umar said what happened on May 9, was a matter of concern, and all parties should play their role to get the country out of the current situation. He said there was no pressure on him and its was his personal decision to tender resignation from the post of Secretary General and the membership of the Core Committee. He said everyone condemned the attacks on the state institutions on May 9. Such attacks on sensitive installations were very dangerous acts, he added. He said the strong army was the guarantor of the country’s defence and security. If the Pakistan Army were not strong, Pakistan’s situation would not have been different from Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon and Syria. Asad Umer said the May 9 incidents should be investigated transparently and those found involved in them should be prosecuted. He called for immediate release of the innocent people arrested in the wake of rioting and arson on the tragic day. He said there were five major stakeholders of Pakistan, including judiciary, army, PTI, PDM (Pakistan Democratic Movement) and the people. He urged all parties to sit together and find an amicable solution of financial and political crises through negotiations, so that the people who had been facing inflation and unemployment for the last 13 months, could be provided some relief. So far Dr Shireen Mazari, Fayyazul Hassan Chohan, Malik Amin Aslam, Mahmood Moulvi, Amir Kayani, Jai Prakash, Aftab Siddiqui and Sanjay Gangwani among many others have left Imran Khan’s party. Though, PTI Chairman Imran sees this exodus as “forced divorces” at “gunpoint”, political experts suggest that it’s an attempt to factionalise the PTI just like the PML-N was converted into PML-Q overnight at the turn of the last century.