Another U-turn: PML-Q leader Chaudhry Sarwar wants to rejoin PTI

Murtaza Ali Shah
Pakistan Muslim League Quaid (PML-Q) leader Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar speaks during a press conference at the Peshawar Press Club in Peshawar on Thursday, June 1, 2023. — PPI
Pakistan Muslim League Quaid (PML-Q) leader Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar speaks during a press conference at the Peshawar Press Club in Peshawar on Thursday, June 1, 2023. — PPI

  • Chaudhry Sarwar joined PML-Q in March.
  • He quit PTI during no-confidence motion time.
  • Politician is currently based in Scotland.

LONDON: Senior politician Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar is yet again looking to switch his loyalties towards the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf but is struggling to get any attention so far.

Former Punjab governor Sarwar, who is currently associated with the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) as its chief organiser, quit the Imran Khan-led party around the no-confidence motion time in April last year during which the PTI chief was ousted from the prime minister's office.

Sarwar, at the time, refused to act on Khan's orders and began deliberations to join the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, an idea turned down by the PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, who cited the politician's defection to the PTI after Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek head Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri's failed 2014 sit in.

Chaudhry Sarwar joined the PML-Q in March this year and was made its chief organiser but he has been living in Scotland for several months now, taking no interest in party affairs. It was hoped at one stage that the PML-Q minus Parvez Elahi and Moonis Elahi may become the proverbial king’s party but the indications suggest it is Jahangir Tareen and Aleem Khan’s Istehekam Pakistan Party (IPP), which is seen as favourite these days and the PML-Q has made no mark.

For the last two weeks, Sarwar has been reaching out directly and indirectly to PTI leaders from his Scottish base and discussing ways to return to the party, two trusted sources said.

A senior PTI leader said Sarwar had reached out to the party leaders offering to rejoin but the party has shown no response so far. 

“The only person who can allow re-entry of Chaudhary Sarwar is Imran Khan but he has made it clear he will not forgive and forget those dozens of leaders who let him down in difficult times. Those who lobbied against Imran Khan and the PTI are not acceptable.”

Chaudhary Sarwar wants to join the PTI again because his family members want to run for elections on the party's tickets in Faisalabad, as there are no seats vacant in PML-N ranks and no other option, said a source close to Sarwar. 

The source also said that the senior politician's son Anas, the Scottish Labour leader, also has an election coming up in Glasgow and there is a considerable Pakistani vote in the local constituency.

When asked about efforts to rejoin the PTI, Sarwar didn’t deny it. He said: “All options are on the table. Discussions at various levels are ongoing. I have not made a final decision yet. I will make the final decision soon.”

Another source said that so far the PTI had not shown any interest in the offer and it had no time to even consider it given the circumstances the PTI was facing in Pakistan.

In March this year, Sarwar joined the PML-Q in the presence of its president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain.

In December 2021, Sarwar slammed Khan’s government by saying that the PTI had handed over everything to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). 

Speaking at an event in London, he said the PTI had mortgaged everything to get a loan of $6 billion, adding that he did not want to become a governor but accepted the party’s decision.

Sarwar joined PTI in 2015 after criticising Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif, days after resigning as the Punjab governor. However, he was appointed to the post for a second time once the PTI came to power in 2018.

Sarwar’s allies said he was not happy as Punjab governor and didn’t like Usman Buzdar. He was sacked from the post around the no-confidence vote by the PTI government, with Omer Sarfraz Cheema being appointed as his replacement.