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PTI meeting: Qureshi, Tareen exchange barbs

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May 23, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's meeting on Tuesday witnessed an ugly situation when its Vice-Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi and ex-secretary general Jahangir Tareen exchanged hot words.

The row appeared after the veteran politician from Multan objected to giving a party post to Rai Hassan, who was disqualified as an MNA from NA-162 this month in 2015. Credible sources disclosed on Tuesday that the Vice Chairman PTI Shah Mahmood Qureshi and the former secretary general Jahangir Khan Tareen adopted a "combative approach" during an important meeting discussed party future plan for 2018 general elections.

“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. “Shah Sahib, your remark is aimed at me. I suppose so. You are blaming. 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,” Tareen responded to Qureshi, according to another senior leader who also witnessed it all on the party's core group meeting day.

Credible sources further revealed that two senior leaders traded barbs over another PTI member Rai Hassan Nawaz, whose disqualification came under discussion during the said meet up by Qureshi who challenged Nawaz's eligibility within the party. “First read Supreme Court’s disqualification order and then comment,” Tareen responded to Qureshi, added another leader as telling inside story of meeting to this correspondent.

“Shah Sahib if you continue to work with this attitude then it seems impossible for the party to form the next government in the Centre and Imran Khan's desire to become Pakistan prime minister might remain a dream,” Tareen is said to have told Qureshi. “My political future is lying with Supreme Court. I’d go to home once Imran Khan becomes prime minister,” added Tareen.

However, Imran intervened and held out certain assurances to sort out the differences between two top party leaders. Already, there are speculations that Qureshi and Tareen have strong differences over possible selection of candidates, particularly from southern Punjab.

A party spokesperson, however, immediately issued a statement to condemn the reports of differences between these two leaders during the Tuesday meeting. He also asserted that all decisions were taken after lengthy consultations and after evolving consensus. He regretted that a detailed statement was also issued on the meeting even then baseless reports were ran on media.The PTI meeting decided to immediately convene a crucial meeting of its parliamentary board to start issuance of tickets to party aspirants of legislatures in phases, as pressure mounted on the leadership to select suitable candidates, purely on merit.

The meeting also deliberated upon the strategy for upcoming general elections and issuance of tickets and selection of candidates.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan chaired a meeting of the senior leaders The meeting assessed the alleged delaying tactics to impede the process of accountability. In this regard, a party spokesman said that there was no escape form the accountability and Nawaz Sharif had to answer two questions about the sources of Avenfield properties and from where Rs300 billion came in the accounts of his sons’ 16 offshore companies.

Punjab government’s corruption scandals in the light of Auditor General’s report were also deliberated upon during the meeting. The PTI leader said that the party demanded of the National Accountability Bureau to launch investigation with regard to massive corruption in projects like Ashiana Housing Scheme, Sasti Roti, Metro and Orange Line Train project.

He said, “PTI also discussed issuance of white paper on the worst governance of PML-N’s Punjab government”. The forum also discussed joining of a large number of politicians from other parties.

The meeting laid emphasis on the fact that the party had suggested most suitable names for the slot of caretaker premier and these names should be considered by both PML-N and PPP leadership. Moreover, Shah Mehmood Qureshi briefed the leadership regarding the caretaker setup.

He stated that PTI’s suggested names of justice (R) Tassaduq Jillani, Dr Ishrat Hussain and Abdul Razaq Daud were the best choices for the slot of prime minister in the caretaker government and urged the ruling party to consider these names.

The forum termed its first 100-day plan for PTI government vital for the future of the country and the top leaders decided to put forth the details of the plan before the masses. In this context, senior leaders, including Mehmood Qureshi, Jahangir Tareen, Asad Umer and Dr Shireen Mazari were asked to explain to public the details of the plan.

“The performance of PTI government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has been minutely analysed and PTI chairman specifically lauded Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak and his cabinet for their remarkable performance even in worst circumstances,” he explained. The meeting noted that the policies of Khyber Pakhthunkhwa government regarding health, education and environment were a model for other provinces to follow.

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