Former foreign minister and Pakistan Peoples Party stalwart Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who was believed to be in a fix over whether to join the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) or the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), has decided to go with the latter in principle and join PTI ranks, according to the Daily Express.
According to sources, Qureshi is expected to resign his membership to the National Assembly before he joins the party. Furthermore, he is also expected to make an official announcement during a rally being held in Kashmore on November 27.
A spokesperson for the PTI said that Qureshi had met PTI Chairman Imran Khan before Eidul Azha and is expected to join the party soon.
Meanwhile, former Intelligence Bureau chief Masood Sharif Khattak and former coach of the Pakistani squash team Faheem Gul were also due to hold meeting with Imran Khan and subsequently announce their membership into the party, The Express Tribune learnt.
In Lahore, the grandson of Allama Iqbal, Waleed Iqbal, also announced his decision to join the PTI in the presence of Imran Khan, adding that he supported the policies of the party.
As one door opens, another closes
Meanwhile, the party suffered its biggest blow yet as one of its own party leaders from Balochistan resigned, alleging that the party was toeing the line of establishment.
“PTI is accepting all those people who are openly working for the establishment and recent policy changes strongly point towards the policies of the military establishment,” said Shahid Qazi, the vice president of PTI from Balochistan, in his resignation letter.
Shahid Qazi, who is also a member of PTI’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) and its core group, also tendered his resignation from the basic membership of the PTI on November 7.
When contacted for confirmation, PTI Information Secretary Umer Cheema told The Express Tribune he had received the resignation letter and it had been forwarded to the leadership for a decision.
Cheema, however, brushed aside all allegations levelled by Qazi saying, “These allegations are baseless. It could only be his (Qazi’s) personal opinion.”
While responding to other allegations levelled by Qazi, Cheema said that the CEC would discuss all issues soon, including visits and public rallies in Balochistan.
In his resignation letter, Qazi said that the party’s attitude towards Balochistan, the leadership’s visit to the MQM headquarters (Nine Zero), policy to accept former president Pervez Musharraf into PTI folds, no intra-party elections, unmerited appointments such as Imran Ismail’s and becoming the ‘establishment’s party’ as the reasons leading to his resignation.
While explaining his grievances, Qazi said that PTI’s central leadership had “always ignored Balochistan”. To substantiate his point, he claimed that the last rally was held almost two years ago in October 2009.
The disgruntled PTI member also criticised the party’s policy of accepting PML-Q members saying, Q-League was responsible for many evils, including the murder of Akbar Khan Bugti and the killings of innocent Pakistanis.
“It is very unfortunate that many Q-league leaders are being accepted by the PTI,” he added.
Regarding the leadership’s visit to MQM headquarters, Qazi said that Imran had ignored the protest of sincere workers over his telephonic conversation with MQM chief Altaf Hussain. Qazi added that no intra-party elections had been held in the past 10 years, which has opened the door for appointment of sycophants with examples abundant in the party’s central leadership.
Imran Khan has called for a ‘crucial’ party meeting on November 13 to review its anti-government and anti-Nawaz Sharif campaign. The party will also discuss forging alliances with like-minded groups and other parties for the next general election.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 11th, 2011.