Islamabad: Former Foreign Minister Shah
Mahmood Qureshi on Sunday joined cricketer-turned-politician Imran
Khan`s Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf party, giving it a boost in the
run up to the general election scheduled for 2013.
Qureshi, who recently quit the ruling Pakistan People`s
Party after being estranged from it earlier this year, told a
gathering of about 30,000 people at Ghotki in southern Sindh
province that he would be part of Khan`s movement to bring
about wide-ranging changes.
"Imran Khan sahab, from today Shah Mahmood is part of
your team," Qureshi said as the crowd cheered.
The speech by Qureshi, the custodian of one of the most
influential sufi shrines in Punjab, was peppered with
spiritual slogans and religious analogies.
At one point, Qureshi likened himself to 10th century
Muslim ruler Mahmud of Ghazni, comparing his campaign against
the PPP-led government to a movement to "destroy the Somnath
Qureshi compared PPP chief and President Asif Ali Zardari
to the Pharaohs of Egypt, saying he had tried to prevent the
holding of the rally at Ghotki.
Since Qureshi quit the PPP and parliament earlier this
month, he has repeatedly attacked Zardari and other leaders of
the PPP, blaming them for failing to tackle problems like
corruption, poor governance, rising prices and crippling power
During his speech, Qureshi called Zardari and Prime
Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani "thieves" and asked the people to
get rid of the government.
"There is talk of change because people are disappointed
by the government of Zardari and Gilani... Is it time to chase
away these thieves and confront them?" he asked.