High-profile transfer: Qureshi swept up by PTI ‘tsunami’

Published: November 28, 2011
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Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that today’s youth look towards Imran Khan because he is looking for new solutions to Pakistan’s problems. PHOTO: AFP

Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that today’s youth look towards Imran Khan because he is looking for new solutions to Pakistan’s problems. PHOTO: AFP

SUKKUR: 

After weeks of sitting on the fence, Shah Mahmood Qureshi formally announced his decision to join Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf at a rally in Ghotki on Sunday.

Alongside PTI chairman Imran Khan, the former foreign minister addressed about 40,000 people, using the platform to criticise President Asif Zardari and the government before declaring his allegiance to PTI, becoming the party’s most high-profile defector so far.

Qureshi spoke with fervour for the PTI cause. “I announce I am joining a movement which is struggling to win justice for people,” he said, adding that the “winds of change have now begun.” His formal statement that he was joining the party was greeted with thunderous applause.

The former foreign minister said he had started his journey on January 27, changing path because he refused to “sell Pakistani blood” in the Raymond Davis issue. He said he decided to quit the Pakistan Peoples Party “and think for Pakistan only.” Qureshi fell out with Zardari after, he claims, he withstood pressure to approve diplomatic immunity for Davis, a CIA contractor who killed two Pakistanis in Lahore in January.

Qureshi took full opportunity to take swipes at his former colleagues. “Today I am going to tell you a most important thing, so listen to me very carefully: Pakistan’s nuclear assets are not safe in the presence of President Zardari,” Qureshi said. He also accused the government of indulging in “loot and plunder”.

Qureshi also made religious analogies to his struggle. He said that the day was the first of Muharram and the most important day in the history of Islam, before referencing Imam Hussain’s “sacrifice”.

Imran, who termed Qureshi a “clean candidate”, emphasised the meritocratic structure of his party, ruling out his children taking over PTI one day. “We will hold internal elections in the party right from the union council level to the central body,” he said.

Corruption was high on the PTI leader’s agenda. After coming to power, Imran said, his party would collect huge taxes and carve out new ways of thinking and social justice. Khan also expressed condolences with the families of those killed by Nato forces on Saturday, reiterating his view that Pakistan should pull out of the “American war”.

Imran’s words were high on energy and momentum. “This tsunami which has reached Sindh will reach Karachi on December 25, and then I will teach people how to drop two wickets with one ball.”

Organisers had made arrangements for 15,000 people. However, convoys continued to arrive, leaving all seats taken and thousands of people standing inside and outside the venue. Interestingly, several years ago local bodies and powerful families in Ghotki apparently worked to disrupt Qureshi’s public meetings in the area. Yesterday, however, they supported the rally.

Information Minister slams Qureshi

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan reacted sternly to Qureshi’s remarks against the president.

“The president of Pakistan is a symbol of the federation and passing unparliamentary remarks … is inappropriate,” she said, adding that Sindhis would not support those who were opportunist and disloyal.

Memon on verge of  joining PTI

Former MNA Marvi Memon was also present at the public meeting, though she did not address the crowd. A source told The Express Tribune that Memon will announce that she is joining PTI “in next couple of days”.

“She made up her mind in a meeting with Imran Khan in Ghotki,” the source added. Imran is likely to offer a “key slot” in his party to the former member of Pakistan Muslim League-Q.

Memon is keen to work with Imran, according to the party insider. “The PTI team is super and very energetic,” she quoted Memon as saying.

Marvi resigned from the PML-Q earlier this year, protesting against the party’s policies.

(With additional reporting by Zahid Gishkori in Islamabad, AFP and APP)

Published in The Express Tribune, November 28th, 2011.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (38)

  • change
    Nov 28, 2011 - 4:03AM

    New PML-Q in production.

    Recommend

  • Nadir
    Nov 28, 2011 - 4:15AM

    The revolution is upon us!!! To make sure that the masses arnt to disorientated Imran Khan and PTI are making sure we have familiar faces to guide as along the way. How thoughtful of him. I mean SMQ, Marvi Memon, its not as if they have jumped ship before or been part of a dictators party??…oh wait..

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  • It Is Economy Stupid
    Nov 28, 2011 - 4:22AM

    Mr entitlement: he thinks Imran Khan can deliver him his entitlement a post either as a foreign minister or as a PM. Time will tell.

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  • The demise of PTI
    Nov 28, 2011 - 4:27AM

    So much for the revolution. Shah Mehmood Qureshi is the very representative of status quo, Imran’s children may not inherit the party but SMQ’s surely will.

    Incase Sir Imran has forgotten, this is the same SMQ who was behind Kerry-Lugar Bill and whose son was working in John Kerry’s office as an apprentice. Who by the way is also in PTI now.

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  • Imran
    Nov 28, 2011 - 4:33AM

    Currently, Marvi Memon is a small fish without water, trying to get hold of anything she can latch on. She knows her limitations very well, which are she can’t win a general election. She had been looking for a sponsor in this wilderness. Good luck to her for a reserved seat. As for the PTI, I doubt it will gain ANY political advantage out of her.

    SMQ on the other hand, is a significant addition to PTI. However, he has his own agenda, and he thinks himself a leader bigger than IK. Soon there will be PTI-(Qureshi), and PTI-(Imran).

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  • Ateeq malik
    Nov 28, 2011 - 4:52AM

    This decigen is totly against the PTI becaue qurashi is the cheep person in Pakistani political system and in comming days qurashi will change the an other party………Recommend

  • Javed
    Nov 28, 2011 - 4:59AM

    Imran Khan for President!

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  • Mudassar.R
    Nov 28, 2011 - 5:35AM

    I am not sure about qureshi, but I have wished marvi joining PTI since she 2008.
    Really hope to see good politicians like her in PTI.

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  • Ali
    Nov 28, 2011 - 5:40AM

    This is quite shameful. Imran is power hungry. What is new he is trying to do? Same old faces, new PML-Q in the formation. Worst kind of faces are joining them. Shame on your Imran.

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  • Arsal
    Nov 28, 2011 - 5:45AM

    Congrats
    to SMQ and PTI!!! Great news!!

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  • Zahid
    Nov 28, 2011 - 6:02AM

    Good going Imran……..Keep up the good work………. Congratulations

    SMQ left Zardari league on a good point and fits well in PTI and so does Marvi

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  • Mohammad Ahmed Khan
    Nov 28, 2011 - 6:06AM

    Good news – PTI is going to take these scam parties.

    Recommend

  • Pervez Bilgrami-New Delhi
    Nov 28, 2011 - 6:23AM

    the Turkish PM Erdogan leading the team of so many politicians of who defected from old CHP & MHP , i think the leader of the of any party and movement must be uncorrectable and UN-purchasable rest follow the suit or or sidelined.

    Recommend

  • Muzzamil Gondal
    Nov 28, 2011 - 7:02AM

    Stupid comments against sincere and true leader Imran Khan and his party PTI. Long Live Imran. God bless him with success. These idiot guys are trying to catch attraction of the people by making cheap comments.Recommend

  • Mvc
    Nov 28, 2011 - 7:05AM

    Mehran Khan jindabaad!

    Recommend

  • anybodyagree
    Nov 28, 2011 - 8:08AM

    its does not matter who will become PM or President IK NS AZ or SMQ …!!!
    Common man life become worst & worst day by day . . .! ! ! !Recommend

  • sajid
    Nov 28, 2011 - 8:57AM

    I had high hopes from PTI but not after this. Why is a supposedly anti-status quo party including members who stand for status-quo. Qureshi is a feudal lord and there can be no revolution in Pakistan unless we get rid of feudalism. The rest are just naras and playing on awami sentiments.

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  • antanu
    Nov 28, 2011 - 9:16AM

    @Ali:
    from where u will get newly borned faces? you have to work with the available sources only.If your standard is followed then all the present personas in govt should quit…as they are same old faces. Take a break…and criticize just for the sake of it.

    Recommend

  • Ch Allah Daad
    Nov 28, 2011 - 9:29AM

    Thanks God SMQ joined PTI and we are spared of reading history lessons about his great grand father’s collaboration with British to crush hundreds of freedom fighters.

    Recommend

  • Yousaf
    Nov 28, 2011 - 9:45AM

    @sajid: I agree with you. However, if you or me are not out there interacting and living with people in the rural areas and dealing with their day-to-day challenges, someone has to do it and those are feudals based on current rural society structure. Biradri and feudalism will continue to dominate political affairs for some time and many ET writers have already talked about this issue in detail. So, can PTI avoid it, no. Can they choose relatively better people than the current lot, yes! and I believe that’s what they are trying to do.

    Recommend

  • M Bilal
    Nov 28, 2011 - 9:47AM

    All those questioning PTIs theory of change after this unification, pls. be clear that PTI is doing politics in Pakistan and has to contest elections in same old constituencys and for that PTI will have to surely look for some cleaner old faces to support the cause. Its up to team leader, how he drives the team, and we have faith in IK!!

    Recommend

  • Ali
    Nov 28, 2011 - 10:18AM

    @Ch Allah Daad: Grapes are sour. If he joins PMLN then its okay????

    Recommend

  • Saim
    Nov 28, 2011 - 10:26AM

    I don’t know why people are behaving like this? Shah Mehmood Qureshi resigned for a cause!! Everyone praised it. Now When he has joined PTI people are against him. I think Bashing PTI is the new hot thing in Pakistan. People give vote to same failed people politicians over and over again, but are refusing IMran Khan without even giving him a chance.

    Recommend

  • Imran
    Nov 28, 2011 - 11:26AM

    @Saim: “Shah Mehmood Qureshi resigned for a cause!!

    This is factually incorrect. His departure from the government was over the portfolio, not over principles. After he was deprived of his beloved ministry, he started seeing all the ills in the government. His earlier statements were just on the contrary.

    Recommend

  • Hussain
    Nov 28, 2011 - 11:28AM

    PTI needs such experienced and sincere people for better future of Pakistan.

    Recommend

  • PTI Zindabad
    Nov 28, 2011 - 12:38PM

    All we need to give a chance to IK .. he deserves a chance ..he is the only HOPE for us.Love u IK

    Recommend

  • zeeshan
    Nov 28, 2011 - 12:40PM

    we are all with you SIR, Imran Khan zindabad

    Recommend

  • AN
    Nov 28, 2011 - 1:16PM

    Has anyone seen Sana Bucha’s programme yesterday. She shared some great details about this “principled guy”.

    Recommend

  • Lobster
    Nov 28, 2011 - 4:57PM

    Let these pseudo intellectual twist as there predictions of PTI failures turns out to be their own failures. Welcome everyone without corruption charges, Marvi has already resigned from PML-Q in protest when they joined PPP. I think this is enough for credibility.

    Recommend

  • zeeshan
    Nov 28, 2011 - 5:31PM

    @AN:
    She is Such a biased ancherperson….Just look at her attitude when talks with PTI spokesmen….very biased….working on anti PTI agenda for sureRecommend

  • massub
    Nov 28, 2011 - 6:34PM

    everyone please be more optimist in your approach and analyze before you conclude final remarks, let everyone come in our party, PTI. IK is not giving tickets to all of them for sure as he mentioned it today in sukher presss conference, either the new comers have to follow the path of PTI i.e honesty foremost and credibility or they”ll have to leave PTI.
    so lets just be optimistic and political for a moment I think of it as a great polictial tactic.
    IK is honest doesnt matter how your subordinates are if you fear ALLAH, so will they. if you are honest, so will they be.
    so just relaxe and welcome everyone with open arms dnt draw any conclusion yet.
    for refernce watch IK’s press confernce in sukher of 28-11-2011.
    PTI zindabad,
    PAKISTAN paindabad.

    Recommend

  • jagjit sidhoo
    Nov 28, 2011 - 6:40PM

    My impression as an outsider is that SMQ is a routine politician , he is not in the same league as Imran Khan i hope these new additions do not dilute the party. Be careful with these old politicians Imran

    Recommend

  • Kashif Iqbal
    Nov 28, 2011 - 8:03PM

    What happened to dynastic and family politics? Another Q-league is in the factory; Say NO to Imran Khan.Recommend

  • Ch Allah Daad
    Nov 28, 2011 - 8:11PM

    Collaboratives and relatives of British have joined hands. God save Pakistan.

    Recommend

  • dr j tipu
    Nov 28, 2011 - 10:16PM

    Ch Allahdad, ur right, politicians with millions in Britain, offocurse God save Pakistan…..duh!Recommend

  • Zayeph
    Nov 28, 2011 - 11:10PM

    Emotional Pakistan, according to you guys Imran khan should import politicians from “Mars”? Sure he need power to held reliable or responsible for the promises he made with public. Best candidate for Pm is Imran khan ….

    Recommend

  • Hussain
    Nov 29, 2011 - 9:37AM

    @ Zayeph.
    I gree with the statement of Zayeph. We should adopt realistic appraoch. Imran Khan needs experienced and sincere politicians. We should be optimistic in this regard. God bless Imran Khan.

    Recommend

  • Javad
    Nov 29, 2011 - 7:06PM

    It is healthy for PTI that their decision to include ‘old faces’ from others parties is thoroughly debated. I can only thank E:T and opposition parties for highlighting such an important issue and giving PTI the opportunity to emphasize on it. Thanks

    Recommend

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