Qureshi meets PTI chairman again after 'bitter' talk: sources

Sources say PTI chairman and vice chairman discussed efforts for arrested party workers' release

Azam Malik
June 10, 2023
Shah Mahmood Qureshi, deputy head of PTI, speaks with the media in Islamabad on May 10, 2023. — AFP
Shah Mahmood Qureshi, deputy head of PTI, speaks with the media in Islamabad on May 10, 2023. — AFP

LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi once again met party chief Imran Khan, sources said on Friday, after their first meeting ended in bitterness.

It was Qureshi's second meeting with the PTI chairman since his release last week.

The ex-foreign minister, claiming to carry a flag of justice, had — in the last meeting — suggested his leader retreat for the time being, go abroad, or at least maintain silence if he didn’t want to leave the country.

PTI has been feeling the heat of the state’s might in the light of the May 9 violent protests as enraged party workers attacked military installations, including the Lahore Corps Commanders House and the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi following PTI chief's arrest.

Scores of party workers and leaders were arrested during the crackdown. As a result, numerous workers and leaders parted ways with their leader, which caused rapid disintegration of the party and growing pressure on the cricketer-turned-politician.

In the last meeting, the two had also exchanged heated words, with the former premier expressing anger at Qureshi, the sources had said.

However, the two have met again and discussed the efforts to release the incarcerated workers.

The sources said that the PTI leaders also discussed the current political scenario.

Amid the ongoing clampdown on PTI, former minister Ali Muhammad Khan was taken back into custody for the fifth time on Friday after being released from the Jail in Mardan.

The PTI leader had been released from prison after an anti-terrorism court (ATC) discharged him from all the cases related to May 9 mayhem and attacks on civil and military installations. The court ordered the authorities to let him walk away if he was not implicated in any other case.

However, the officials of the anti-corruption establishment (ACE) took him into custody in another case from outside the ATC premises.

Qureshi himself was arrested multiple times under Section 3 of the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance (MPO) before being finally allowed to walk free on Wednesday.

According to a close friend of Qureshi in Multan, the PTI vice chairman had asked the PTI chairman in the previous meeting to let him and others settle issues and let pardoning be done.

He further told the ex-PM he could take over the party again when everything had been set right.

Qureshi had told the PTI chief that it was a difficult time and there was a need to make wise decisions instead of giving in to emotions.

According to a source, Qureshi also made it clear to the PTI chairman that retired people who are misleading him cannot help him in these circumstances.

At this, the ex-PM expressed his anger at Qureshi, who then left Zaman Park.