The former chief executive officer (CEO) of Engro Corporation, Asad Umar, formally joined Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Wednesday in what is the party’s most high-profile recruitment outside the political sphere.
Umar made the announcement at a joint news conference with the party chief, Imran Khan, in Islamabad. The PTI remained in opposition for 16 years but never compromised on its manifesto in exchange for political benefits, Umar said.
He said the party’s leadership was committed to running the PTI as an institution and added that reorganisation of the party would remain a priority.
Umar said the country’s two major political parties – the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the Pakistan Peoples Party – were part of a decades-old political system, which, he added, did not allow them to make decisions for the betterment of the nation even if they wanted to do so.
Umar recently took an early retirement from Engro at the age of 50 amid speculation that he was giving up a highly successful business career to begin a political one.
When he took over as president and CEO of Engro in January 2004, it was largely just a fertiliser manufacturer with a small petrochemical subsidiary. Under his leadership, however, the company turned into a diversified industrial conglomerate, with interests ranging from fertilisers, foods, petrochemicals, chemical storage, energy and commodity trading.
Imran opposes unilateral withdrawal
On his part, PTI chief Imran Khan said that Pakistan and India should both withdraw troops from Siachen and the move should not be unilateral.
PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday called for demilitarisation of Siachen and advised Pakistan to take the lead.
Asked whether he was planning to visit Giari, as Nawaz did on Tuesday, Imran said that the PML-N chief had enough resources to visit Giari, but “our hearts and prayers are with the soldiers and their families.”
Responding to a question, Imran said corruption is the biggest problem and the rulers are trying to pressurise the judiciary into not holding them accountable. “The nation and PTI stand with the judiciary,” he said.
About his public meeting in Quetta scheduled for April 20, Imran said although it was a risky decision due to the precarious security situation, they would still go there to show solidarity with the Baloch people. “I will address without a bullet-proof dais. No political party leader in Pakistan can do this,” he said.
Imran criticised the recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security on Pakistan-US ties, saying that neither was there any apology over the Nato attack in Salala nor any guarantee for an end to drone strikes in the tribal areas. (With additional input from Agencies)
Published in The Express Tribune, April 19th, 2012.