Hammad resurfaces after year in hiding

Says he received message from Imran Khan to join party leadership after attack on Raoof Hasan

News Desk May 22, 2024
PTI leader Hammad Azhar talking to the media in Islamabad on May 22, 2024. SCREENGRAB


After nearly a year of staying out of the public eye, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Hammad Azhar made a dramatic reappearance on Wednesday, igniting tensions at the party's secretariat as police attempted to apprehend him, resulting in a heated confrontation.

Azhar, who formerly held the position of finance minister under the PTI government, had gone into hiding following a government crackdown on the party leadership last year after the May 9 incidents.

Addressing the media upon his return at the party's central secretariat in Islamabad, Azhar revealed, "I received a message from Imran Khan last night after the attack on Rauf Hassan. He directed that it is now time for me to join the party leadership."Expressing his resolve to confront the legal challenges against him, Azhar stated, "I have come to meet Raoof Hasan today. I will then go to Peshawar and seek interim bails and request more time. I will also appear in Punjab courts and will then leave the matter to the Almighty."

Refuting any guilt in the cases brought against him, Azhar vowed to contest "all the 51 or 52 fake cases" in Punjab courts. He also dismissed the notion of being accompanied by security guards or protocol.

However, shortly after Azhar's reappearance, the PTI reported that police had arrived at their secretariat with the intent to arrest him.

PTI leader Omar Ayub criticised the authorities for prioritising Azhar's arrest over apprehending the attackers of Raoof Hasan.

As tensions escalated, PTI leader Taimur Jhagra revealed that the police had surrounded the secretariat, preventing anyone from entering or leaving.

Read more: PTI demands judicial inquiry into attack on Raoof Hasan

The situation took turn when a United Nations election team, present at the secretariat for a meeting on election transparency, witnessed the police interference firsthand.

PTI lawyer Salman Niazi accused the police of holding the UN team "hostage". The PTI shared footage of the authorities' unwarranted intrusion.

In a recorded video, Raoof Hasan could be seen berating the police for their failure to apprehend those responsible for his attack. He further claimed that the police had entered the premises without a search warrant and were conducting room-by-room searches on every floor to locate Azhar.

Expressing his outrage, Hasan denounced the incident as an unjustified assault, attributing it to what he described as the authoritarian tactics employed by the state in governing the nation.


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