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Saturday June 15, 2024

Tareen reaches Islamabad, Zardari Lahore amid spike in political activities

By Muhammad Saleh Zaair
May 31, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Prominent south Punjab politician Jahangir Khan Tareen on Tuesday arrived in the federal capital from Lahore, while PPP leader former President Asif Ali Zardari dashed to Lahore from Islamabad on the same day to outsmart each other by winning over most of the PTI dissidents.

Tareen, who has started meetings here immediately after reaching Islamabad, confirmed to The News Tuesday evening, “I am in the city now.” He has reached the capital city after a long gap and has plans up his sleeve to give final touches to his upcoming party and is also likely to consult his legal advisers to contest in the apex court against his disqualification handed down by a ‘controversial’ bench of the court.

Imran Khan has alleged that a kings party is being raised that would convey the impression that the substitute party is ready.

A group of parliamentarians, an ally of the federal government, already exists. After a huge exodus from the PTI, the stalwarts of the group are mulling over forming a new political party.

Earlier, Tareen didn’t show any interest in the formation of a party but following the latest developments, he has been tempted to take a plunge. He is doubling down on his energies to attract the dissident PTI leaders to outsmart the PPP and PMLQ, who are similarly offering electoral tickets to them.

General elections are understood to take place in October, and Tareen is gearing up to build a party well before that, duly registered with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

In this regard, well-placed sources told The News that Tareen is seeking the blessings of the powers that be to finalise the name and symbol of his party. The manifesto of the proposed party is being finalised and it would be made public within a week, the sources said.

Tareen is awaiting PTI stalwart Pervaiz Khattak to join him, who earlier had served as KP chief minister and defence minister in the PTI government. If and when that happens, it will be the biggest scoop for the politician from south Punjab. Khattak heads a big group of politicians from KP. But he is also being courted by the PPP but keeping cards close to his chest and may be waiting for an opportune moment or a wink, the sources said. The “common friends” of Khattak and Tareen could play an important role in devising the latter’s strategy, the sources said. Asif Ali Zardari, who is in Lahore now, would welcome a group of south Punjab leaders into his party’s fold today (Wednesday). This would pose a major headache for Tareen if Zardari is able to wean away a windfall of PTI legislators from Tareen’s home base to his side.

This may prevent Tareen from immediately announcing his party, the sources added. Interestingly, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (PMLN) isn’t part of the game since it has very limited space for accommodating new leaders who are mostly ticket hunters.