May 9 riots planned to oust army chief, claims Usman Dar after quitting PTI

ISLAMABAD  -  Pakistan Tehreek-e-In­saf (PTI) leader Us­man Dar on Wednes­day resurfaced weeks after he had gone missing and claimed that former prime minister Imran Khan had masterminded the May 9 attacks with an aim to remove Army Chief Gen Asim Munir from his position.

Dar appeared in a local TV channel programme and said that the long march of Chairman PTI Imran Khan was aimed at halting the appoint­ment of army chief. He went on to say that Khan had information within the institution that pro­test could either influence the appointment of General Asim as the chief of army staff (COAS) or lead to his forced removal from the position.

On the other hand, PTI termed the interview “an old wine in a new bottle’ and said that Dar did the same under coercion. The party said that Dar was abducted by unknown persons from Karachi on Sep­tember 10 and he resurfaced after 24 days – a claim that the local police has denied vehe­mently.

Dar in his interview also an­nounced quitting the PTI and politics, saying that he initiat­ed his political journey with the Imran-led party and was now concluding from the same starting point.

When Dar was asked about the “masterminds” of the May 9 violence, he said that the May 9 violence did not occur in a day. He blamed that Khan was sup­porting the anti-state narrative since his removal from the of­fice of prime minister through a vote of no-confidence.

After the PTI was ousted from power, “two mindsets or groups” emerged within the party, one was the proponent of confronting with the state insti­tution – Army – and other sup­ported the politics of reconcili­ation, he said, adding that Khan supported those who wanted confrontation.

“Those wanted politics of con­frontation included Azam Swa­ti, Hammad Azhar, Murad Saeed and Farrukh Habib, he said and added, “The other mindset had the people like Asad Umar, Omar Ayub, Ali Muhammad Khan, Shafqat Mehmood and I, who were talking about recon­ciliation.”

Dar underlined that while May 9 attacks did not happen within a day as the circum­stances leading to the riots were being created and such a situation could have erupted at any time.

It was a mindset as PTI had been discussing within its in­ternal meetings that an attack on the state institution could be used as an option to bring it under pressure, he said. “There were discussions about the possibility of attacking state institutions in the event of Im­ran’s arrest.”

The PTI leader also attribut­ed the current situation for the party to Imran Khan’s decisions, emphasizing that the forth­coming elections would deter­mine the direction of the party. He said that if the governments in two provinces were not dis­solved, the events of May 9 might not have occurred.”

Dar, who was once a close aide to PTI chief Khan, under­lined that PTI’s foundations were severely shaken follow­ing the events of May 9. He pointed out that even the PPP and PML-N faced challeng­ing times, but the impact was primarily on their second-tier leadership. In the case of PTI, it was the grassroots workers who faced the brunt of the bad situation.


In a strongly worded reaction, PTI said the interview had nei­ther any significance in the pub­lic eye nor does it have any le­gal status.

After spending 24 days in the custody of unknown kidnap­pers, Dar’s appearance on a pri­vate TV channel undoubtedly exposed the kidnappers them­selves, a spokesperson of the party said in a statement.

During this 24-day enforced disappearance, marks of phys­ical and mental violence and coercion are evident from his trembling voice, hesitant body language and incoherent thoughts, he added.

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