Well placed sources in the PML-N told The Express Tribune that former Test captain Aamir Sohail was asked to join the party after a survey of youth revealed that PTI’s popularity hinges on Imran Khan’s career as a cricketer.
Sohail on Thursday announced that he was joining the PML-N in the ‘national interest’. Sources said that a survey taken under Khawaja Saad Rafique revealed that 80 per cent of the youth that joined PTI did so because they were fans of Imran Khan, the cricketer.
(Read: Imran Khan: From cricket hero to Pakistan leader?)
Sources said Rafique then recommended Sohail’s name as a counter to Khan’s popularity amongst youth.
Sohail, speaking with The Express Tribune, said that he had joined PML-N to help the country out of the current crisis. He said Nawaz Sharif’s interest in sports and his manifesto had also attracted him. He said Khan was inexperienced and could not lead the country out of crisis. Comparing Sharif and Khan, he said, the former was experienced and had a clear manifesto on how to bring the country out of the current quagmire while the latter was inexperienced and had no policy prescription. PTI Central Information Secretary Omer Sarfarz Cheema told The Express Tribune that Sohail’s entry in PML-N would not dent the PTI’s youth vote bank. He said no force would defeat the PTI in the next general election.
PML-N’s Central Information Secretary Senator Mushahidullah Khan told The Tribune that Khan would soon be exposed as someone furthering the agenda of the “establishment”. He said in 1997 Khan had demanded 50 seats from PML-N but the party offered him 10 seats. Khan, he said, had rejected the offer and decided to contest the election independently. He added that Sohail was as popular amongst the youth as Khan was.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 19th, 2011.