Wednesday May 23, 2018
ISLAMABAD: A heated exchange of words took place between Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Jehangir Tareen during a meeting of the party's core group on Tuesday, sources informed Geo News.
The meeting was presided over by Imran Khan at his Bani Gala residence, sources said, during which Shah Mehmood Qureshi objected to PTI member Rai Hasan Nawaz's eligibility, holding of a party post and his participation in PTI meetings.
Nawaz, who was elected as an MNA from NA-162 constituency in Cheecha Watni, was disqualified in 2015 for failing to declare his assets.
“Disqualified politicians recently joined the party have contaminated PTI's image. They must not be given key offices in the party,” suggested Shah Mahmood Qureshi, according to a senior leader of PTI who witnessed this exchange of approach between two senior leaders of the party. Tareen interrupted, telling Qureshi, 'Shah sahib, your remark is aimed at me' and went on with his tirade.
“I stood by party in testing times. Gave time to top leadership and workers, built its structure, financed it—what did you do for the party? Sindh was handed over to you but your progress was nothing,” Mr Tareen responded to Mr Qureshi, according to another senior leader who also witnessed it all on the party's core group meeting day.
"Shah sahib, I worked on southern Punjab. I brought Junoobi Punjab Sooba Mahaaz (JPSM) proponents into the party fold and you are claiming the credit for that!" sources quoted Tareen as saying.
"Shah sahib, you do not even greet a party member; I spent on the party.
"If you continue to have this attitude then your wish of becoming the Punjab chief minister would never be fulfilled. I don't know about my future, will return home after having Imran Khan elected as the prime minister, but Shah sahib, your attitude would not let Imran become the premier and the party would also lose the elections."
According to sources, Qureshi responded to Tareen's diatribe telling him that he was bringing "politically stained" individuals to the PTI, which was spoiling the party's image.
"Haven't you read Supreme Court verdict about Rai Hassan Nawaz?" sources quoted Qureshi as questioning Tareen.
Witnessing things getting too heated, PTI chief Imran Khan had to himself jump in, who announced removing Nawaz from PTI parliamentary board and not giving him any party post, sources added. The matter was resolved after Khan's announcement.
Sources further informed Geo News that the PTI core group turned down a request for an alliance with Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), while a committee was constituted for the screening of individuals joining the party.
Meanwhile, a PTI spokesman denied reports regarding altercation between senior party leaders, terming them "regretful and condemnable." He said the reports were based on speculation.
"PTI leadership in united and important decision were made at today's meeting through consultation and consensus," the spokesman added.
In his reaction, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) member Saeed Ghani said Qureshi has always been a "political nomad" and it seems as if he is about to start a new journey.
Ghani said Qureshi would not succeed in opposition to Tareen. "It is possible that Qureshi contests next election as an independent candidate."