Former stalwart claims P.M. Khan had told him PTI-led government was on weak footing without a government in Punjab province
Former Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) stalwart Jahangir Tareen on Monday admitted that he had played a key role in helping his party form a government in Punjab following the 2018 general elections, adding that his actions were taken on the directions of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Admitting that the PTI had lacked the numbers to form the government in Punjab, Tareen told a corner meeting in Lodhran that the prime minister had contacted him shortly after the elections and said that the party’s government at the center was doomed to failure if it did not also have a government in Punjab. He said that his “hard work” had allowed the PTI to form the government in Punjab despite having won less seats than the PMLN.
“You all are well aware that then the plane flew,” he said, referencing feverish media speculation related to him shuttling independent lawmakers from Punjab to Islamabad in his private plane for meetings with the prime minister. “We had eight seats less as compared to them [PMLN] while there were 23 MPAs who won the election as independent candidates out of whom some were from the PTI as well,” he said, adding that he did not wish to go into any more details.
In the same appearance, he alleged that “organized” efforts to create a gulf between himself and Khan had started shortly after the formation of the Punjab government.
Referring to a group of “like-minded” PTI lawmakers who have formed a bloc aligned with him, Tareen said it had not been dissolved and would make all future decisions in view of the prevailing political situation in the country. “Two years are left to the election … we will take decisions while keeping in view the changing political situation. We will take a good decision. A decision which will be in favor of Pakistan. A decision which will be in favor of Lodhran and I am thankful to all those ministers, advisers and parliamentarians who are standing with me,” he said.
Despite all the bad blood with the current PTI leadership, he maintained that he had no desire to quit politics or part ways with the party. “I worked hard day and night in the ruling PTI for eight years because Imran Khan was different from other politicians,” he said. “Six months before the election, I was disqualified with a wrong and futile decision, yet I did not leave Imran Khan. My son and I decided we will neither quit politics nor part ways with the PTI during my two weeks visit abroad,” he said.