Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Vice-Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who has been in jail in connection with May 9 mayhem, will leave the Imran Khan-led party as soon as he finds an alternative, claimed Defence Minister Khawaja Asif on Friday.
Asif made this statement days after sources had said that PTI’s key deserters met Qureshi in Adiala jail and tried to convince him to part ways with the former prime minister — who was voted out in April last year.
However, Zain Qureshi — son of Qureshi — dismissed the perception that his father would part ways with Khan or the former ruling party.
Over 80 PTI leaders and lawmakers have already parted ways with Khan over, what they claimed, May 9 mayhem when party workers and supporters attacked public and military installations almost across the country.
“Shah Mahmood had told me he wanted to join the PML-N [Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz] when he left the PPP [Pakistan Peoples Party],” said the defence minister while speaking during the Geo News programme “Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Saath” on Friday.
Asif, who is also a PML-N senior leader, said that the former foreign minister had also met PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif in this regard.
Speaking about the May 9 riots that erupted after the deposed premier’s arrest, the federal minister said that the establishment was challenged in May. “Mutiny was broken out in May, do they not know what is the punishment of rebellion against the army?” he said.
“The establishment, politicians and the people are on the same page regarding the May 9 events,” he said, adding that the state was attacked in that month.
Asif sees Imran Khan’s ‘mistakes’ behind PTI exodus
Last month, Asif said that those who could not bear the burden of party chairman Khan’s “mistakes” are bidding adieu to the former ruling party.
Berating the former premier, Asif accused Khan of shattering the country’s economy, adding that he is now trying to weaken the country defensively.
Referring to the May 9 riots, the defence minister said: “They have attacked the country.”
“More people will leave it [PTI],” predicted the defence minister.
Asif asked Khan to give more names to the negotiation team so that if some of them quit the party, then there should be a replacement for the members.