ISLAMABAD - Ever since his ascendancy to political power, Imran Khan , the leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, has been surrounded by seasoned and veteran politicians but his closeness with Aown Chaudhry, the head of PTI Secretariat, has mystified party leaders and political observers.

However, this relationship might run into difficulty soon as one of the country’s intelligence agencies has warned Imran Khan to disassociate himself from Aown Chaudhry, The Nation has learnt through multiple sources.

Imran Khan has been communicated that his continued relationship with Aown Chaudhry can damage his reputation in public, sources say.

The sudden rise of Aown Chaudhry through the PTI ranks has been viewed with both jealousy and suspicion by the party leadership and cadres. The real reason of the confidence that Aown enjoys in the eyes of Imran Khan remains a secret, party leaders say.

Aown Chaudhry is a Lahore-based businessman and former husband of film actress Noor. He has a ubiquitous presence in all of Khan’s activities, often seen standing behind the PTI leader during press briefings or sitting with him in Islamabad’s popular eateries.

Background interviews with some PTI’s leaders reveal that a number of party leaders and workers have dislikes for the role of Head of the Chairman Secretariat for a long time but, despite their all-out efforts, they have failed to limit his influence at the Bani Gala residence of Khan.

“We dislike his (Mr Chaudhry) role as Head of Chairman’s Secretariat at Bani Gala as he is neither a politician nor has long affiliation with the party. He even has sidelined the role of Secretary Information PTI,” said a PTI leader, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The leader added: “Mr Chaudhry has the blessing of two senior leaders of the party who are very close to Khan these days.”

The PTI leader speculated that perhaps both these two leaders were compelled to do so as they were using Aown Chaudhry to extract information about activities in Bani Gala.

Aown Chaudhry was part of the delegations of Chairman PTI during his recent tour to United Kingdom and to India some months earlier. In India’s tour, Central Information Secretary Naeemul Haq also accompanied chairman while in UK’s tour, two party stalwarts Aleem Khan and Jehangir Khan Tareen were also part of the Khan’s delegation besides Chaudhry.

Currently, Aown Chaudhry shares a rented residence along with Naeemul Haq in Bani Gala and is responsible for arranging all political meetings of the chairman with the party workers, other political parties, diplomats etc on a daily basis. However, Central Information Secretary has a role in arranging the important meetings in Bani Gala.

“Chaudhry has been facing allegation for leaking party information in the past and was sidelined for some time but then again came close to Khan,” said another PTI leader.

An officebearer of PTI narrating the story of Chaudhry’s closeness with Khan, said that it was the year of 2012 when he was first seen in the rallies of Imran Khan during a tour of South Punjab districts. Khan did not even know Aown at that time. During that political tour, Aown Chaudhry started giving rides in his luxury vehicle to some leaders of Insaf Students Federation (ISF).

Then after 2013 general elections, he became close to some MPs of PTI, who introduced him to Naeemul Haq and, as a result, succeeded to make his inroads into Bani Gala. During the party’s sit-in in 2014, Aown used to supply food items to Imran Khan in the container, parked at the D-Chowk of the Constitution Avenue.

Aown had uneven terms with the ex-wife of Imran Khan , Reham Khan, during her stay in the Bani Gala house. Sometimes she used to sideline him and sometimes allowed to get back into Bani Gala.

Iftikhar Durrani, head of Media Department of PTI, said that he was not in the knowledge about any warning from intelligence agency. Aown works as the political secretary to chairman and sees his political schedules, he said.

Aown Chaudhry, while talking to The Nation, said that he had no information about the intelligence agency’s report but added that he was performing his responsibilities at the chairman secretariat very well. “I can assure you that no such intelligence report exists,” he said.

“There can be some rifts within the party but I have never maltreated any member of the party and have done my duties efficiently. I have always followed merit and this is the training of my leader,” he said.