Lahore: Following in the footsteps of PML-N
chief Nawaz Sharif`s close ally Javed Hashmi, senior leader of
the ruling PPP Khalid Ahmad Khan Kharal has announced his
decision to join Imran Khan`s Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf party.
Several other politicians, including outspoken PML-Q
leader Marvi Memon and Nafees Sadiqui, the former Secretary
General of PPP`s Sindh chapter, are also expected to join the
former Test cricketer`s party, sources said.
In a related development, Tehrik-e-Insaf Vice Chairman
Shah Mahmood Qureshi has approached two dissident PPP leaders
-- Naheed Khan and her husband Safdar Abbasi -- to persuade
them to join the Imran Khan`s party, the sources said.
The couple was very close to slain PPP Chairperson
Khalid Kharal, who was the Secretary General of
PPP`s federal Council, has disclosed that a good number of
"important personalities" of the PPP from across Punjab will
soon announce their plans to join Imran Khan.
"Shah Mahmood Qureshi invited me and other PPP
workers to join the Tehrik-e-Insaf. After consulting the
people of my constituency, I decided to quit the PPP and join
Khan`s party," Kharal said.
He said he was not alone as a sizeable number of PPP
workers, including former parliamentarian Ishfaq Chaudhry,
would announce plans to join the Tehrik-e-Insaf during a
public meeting to be held at Toba Tek Singh on December 28.
Kharal, who served as Information Minister in Bhutto`s
second tenure as Prime Minister, was critical of the PPP`s top
leadership for its failure to give any relief to the people.
"This is an inefficient and corrupt government. It has no
right to rule as the people are suffering because of power
cuts and inflation," he said.
He said he was unhappy with President Asif Ali
Zardari, the co-chairman of the PPP.
Kharal noted that for the past three years, the President
had not convened a single meeting of the PPP`s federal council
and said this shows how serious he was about party affairs.
"Several other important personalities of the PPP in
Punjab are in contact with the Tehrik-e-Insaf`s leadership and
they too will soon announce their decision," he said.
A source said Qureshi has contacted Benazir Bhutto`s
ex-political secretary Naheed Khan and her spouse Safdar
Abbasi to persuade them to join the Tehrik-e-Insaf.
Qureshi was of the view that the party would get a boost
if the couple joined Imran Khan to work on the same platform
for the welfare of the people.
Abbasi said: "Qureshi is an old friend and we often
meet. Yes, Qureshi had asked us to ponder joining the
Tehrik-e-Insaf but we told him that we will continue our
struggle for the rights of the people in our parent party."
He further said the couple had an association with
Bhutto for over two decades and would like to continue her
"The PPP is facing hard times because of its
co-chairman`s leadership and it has deviated from its
principles. The failure of the PPP-led government is not the
failure of the PPP. We will continue our struggle in the party
fold for reforms within," Abbasi said.
Defections from various parties in the face of
growing popularity of the Tehrik-e-Insaf has perturbed the
PPP, which had earlier claimed that the Imran Khan factor was
a "good omen" for it as it would weaken the PML-N in Punjab.
"We are sending a PPP delegation to Kharal to listen
to his grievances," said Imtiaz Safdar Warriach, head of the
PPP`s Punjab chapter.
Each worker of the party was important and the PPP would
not like to lose any of them, he said. "However, those who
think that they may not get a ticket in the next election
following our alliance with the PML-Q are securing a ticket
from other parties."