- Sources say PTI deserters express desire to join PML-Q.
- Request party to give them tickets to contest in next polls.
- PML-Q’s Chaudhry Sarwar tasked to hold talks with ex-MPAs.
ISLAMABAD: As many as 26 former MPAs from Punjab have turned to Pakistan Muslim League Quaid (PML-Q), after jumping the sinking Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) ship in the recent quitting spree in the wake of May 9 protests, The News reported Sunday citing sources.
The country’s politics see one of the worst turmoils in history, with PTI facing mass exodus and clampdown against violent protests.
PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s arrest in the £190 million settlement case on May 9 and subsequent events of violence amid protests, during which unruly supporters and workers stormed and torched state installations almost across the country, have unleashed a mass exodus of leaders from the party.
As per the report, these PTI deserters have expressed inclination towards joining PML-Q, which is led by PTI President Chaudhry Parvez Elahi’s cousin Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain. Sources said that the ex-MPAs have requested the party leadership to give them tickets to contest in the upcoming elections in case they join the party.
Those who have contacted PML-Q leadership include Faizullah Kamoka, Chaudhry Akhlaq and others.
Meanwhile, PML-Q’s senior leader Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar has been assigned the responsibility of holding talks with the former assembly members and other parties. He also has the power to adjust the PTI members. The majority of the PTI members, who have contacted the PML-Q, belong to south Punjab.
Khan’s party has been feeling the heat of the state’s might after his party workers burnt and smashed military installations, including the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, after his arrest on May 9 — a day the army dubbed as “Black Day”.
Nearly three-day-long protests also claimed at least eight lives and injured dozens of others with the incumbent coalition government suspending internet services and deploying army troops to maintain law and order situation.
Following the unprecedented attacks on defence and public properties, the crackdown was launched on the PTI to detain the suspect involved in the vandalism with the country’s top civil-military leadership vowing to try rioters under relevant laws of the country including the Army Act.
Several party leaders and thousands of workers have been rounded up in connection with the violent protests.
A close aide of Khan, Asad Umar, has relinquished his posts of secretary general and core committee member, citing the ongoing situation, while several other senior members including Fawad Chaudhary, Shireen Mazari, Maleeka Bokhari and Fayyazul Hassan Chohan have parted ways with Khan.
The last ones to jump ship are PTI’s Sindh president, Ali Zaidi and former Sindh governor Imran Ismail.
They have publicly denounced the attacks on the state installations and announced leaving the former ruling party since the May 9 vandalism, with some blaming Khan’s policies for the attacks on the military installations.