ISLAMABAD: A group of high-profile politicians, who recently abandoned former prime minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, held a meeting with Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday in an apparent attempt to make him quit his political faction.
The PTI stalwarts announced to leave their party in recent weeks after they were thrown into prison in the wake of the violent protests that broke out after Khan was arrested by the authorities on corruption charges last month.
Many of these people were Khan’s close aides who exercised their influence over the decision-making process within the party.
With the crackdown continuing against the PTI, they justified their political activities by saying the current administration of the country could not be allowed to have an open political field.
“We have had a detailed conversation with Shah Mahmood Qureshi,” said Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, who served as information minister in Khan’s PTI administration, after visiting a prison in Rawalpindi where Qureshi has been kept. “We believe that Pakistan needs to move toward a durable solution [amid all the political instability].”
Hussain was accompanied by former governor of Sindh province, Imran Ismail, along with other PTI defectors. He said his group was also in contact with other former colleagues that included Asad Umar, Pervez Khattak, Asad Qaisar, Ali Zaidi, Hammad Azhar and Farrukh Habib.
“The current political administration of the country is directly responsible for the constitutional, political and economic uncertainty prevailing in Pakistan,” he continued.
“Pakistan is a country of 250 million people according to the new census. The nation of 250 million cannot be left to Asif Zardari and Nawaz Sharif,” he added while naming two of the top leaders belonging to the ruling coalition.
Khan had reportedly named Qureshi, his second-in-command in the party, as someone who could lead PTI if the former PM was disqualified from politics.
Responding to the recent political activity generated by Hussain and his group, some PTI members said there was “no politics without Imran Khan.”
Others, like Asad Qaisar, denied being contacted by anyone to discuss any future political strategy.
Qureshi’s son also said that his father supported the PTI ideology and was still the vice chairman of the party.