Qureshi will join, says PTI

Party’s Sindh leadership upbeat about upcoming Karachi rally.

Saba Imtiaz November 16, 2011


While Shah Mehmood Qureshi continues to be cryptic about his political future, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) Sindh leadership says the former foreign minister’s joining the PTI is a ‘done deal’.

Party chief Imran Khan and senior leaders will attend Qureshi’s rally in Ghotki on November 27, where the ex-Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader will formally announce that he is joining the PTI, the party’s Sindh chapter president Naeemul Haque said.

Haque said Khan had confirmed Qureshi would join the PTI, and does not foresee any personality clash between the two leaders.

Qureshi has also invited other unsatisfied PPP members to join his Ghotki rally. So far Ghinwa Bhutto, Mumtaz Bhutto and Nabeel Gabol have agreed to attend but PPP veterans Naheed Khan and Safdar Abbasi declined to participate. Qureshi has also invited Talal Bugti to attend his rally.

Building an electoral base

PTI expects that Qureshi, who it says has considerable support in upper Sindh, will be able to bring potential parliamentary candidates on board.

But even without Qureshi, PTI claims that it has been flooded by new entrants. Haque named Iftikhar Soomro, Adnan Kehan, Sardar Sharif Khan Buledi, Mir Zulfiqar Khan Bijrani and Bakht Janal Chandio as examples.

The party has also been in touch with nationalist parties as well as the Jamaat-e-Islami and Sunni Tehreek, but all alliance proposals are off the agenda for now. “The PTI is growing and we want to fully realise the potential,” Haque said.

PTI's spokesperson in Sindh Dawa Khan Sabir says that if the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) were to give up its “politics of fear”, the PTI would be open to working with them. “The party we have the most in common with is the MQM – our base is also middle class, young voters.”

Karachi rally

On the heels of a successful rally in Lahore, the PTI is planning a similar one in Karachi on December 25 near the Mazar-e-Quaid. The party’s goal is to bring out a whopping 200,000 people.

Party officials told The Express Tribune that the December 25 rally’s theme will be ‘National Unity’ as Khan wants everyone to participate, above ethnic divides.

The party says it has understood its strengths and shortcomings after organising the sit-in and the Lahore rally and will use its experience in managing events to make the Karachi rally a success.

PTI has also set up a screening committee to vet nominees for national and provincial assembly seats to ensure there are “no corrupt candidates”. Haque also denied that the army or the Inter-Services Intelligence was supporting the PTI – “We have absolutely no contact with them.”

Karachi to South Punjab

Meanwhile, the Presidency, it is alleged, is also trying to cut off a pro-Qureshi forward bloc in the Punjab Assembly at its head by promising to release development funds to potential dissidents as soon as possible, blaming the prime minister’s son Abdul Qadir Gilani for the delay.

While some forward bloc members may resign their seats after Qureshi’s November 27 rally, in the interim the PPP leadership is doing its best to coerce them into staying.

Already, one member of the forward bloc, Malik Muhammad Abbas Raan says that he will never leave the PPP. (WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM OWAIS RAZA IN MULTAN)

Published in The Express Tribune, November 16th, 2011.


ADIL AHMED DAYO | 10 years ago | Reply

Congrat'z , To ALL SMQ WILL JOIN PTI . . . !!

Aijaz Khan | 10 years ago | Reply

Well the PTI is organising it's jalsa in Karachi way too late.25th December is way too late.After knowing this,it's absolutely clear to me that nobody in Pakistan is in a hurry to dislodge this government,not even Imran Khan.Now that is very vey bad and this way this government won't be dislodged.They will stll be trying to dislodge this government and election time will already be there.This is exactly what is going to happen this time around.Sorry to say.

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