- Sarwar visits Khan twice, seeks PTI president’s slot, demands party be institutionalised on modern lines
- PTI leaders Qureshi, Haq oppose Sarwar’s demand while Khan seeks time to consult core group
Former Punjab governor Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar Sunday twice visited the residence of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan in Bani Gala and held two quiet meetings to discuss the possibility of his joining PTI, Pakistan Today has learnt.
Details were not provided to the media on discussions which took place between Sarwar and PTI leaders, however, Imran Khan’s spokesman and party’s senior leader Naeemul Haq confirmed that the meeting had taken place at Khan’s residence.
A well-placed source told Pakistan Today that Sarwar directly arrived at Khan’s residence from airport at noon after he landed in Islamabad following his London trip. He also had lunch at Khan’s house.
“During the meeting, Khan asked Sarwar to join the party. Sarwar responded that he wanted to join PTI but he should be accommodated at the slot of PTI president,” source said.
The PTI’s post is lying vacant since the party’s elected president Javed Hashmi was removed from his post last year.
“Though Khan was inclined to accommodate Chaudhry Sarwar but party leaders; Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Naeemul Haq, opposed the demand. When Sarwar left Khan’s residence, Haq asked Khan about the services Javed Hashmi had rendered to the party despite him accommodated as the party’s president. He reminded Khan that when individuals are extended favors bypassing the party rules, they damage party as Hashmi ditched Khan for some favors from the government,” the source said, adding that PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi also expressed his reservations about accommodating Sarwar against the office of party president.
“Following the Hashmi’s exit, Qureshi had resisted proposals to fill the post of the president which could overshadow his role. This time again, since the proposal was raised during the party meetings, he opposed the idea, stating that it would undermine the party’s image and anybody could contest intra-party elections to work as president,” the source said.
The source added that later during the night, Sarwar again visited Khan and asked him about the decision he had taken.
“Sarwar looks in too much hurry. He even offered Khan to make up his mind as he was ready to join the party tomorrow (today). However, Khan has told Sarwar that he would consult the party’s core group and later get back to him about his demand,” the source added.
On the other hand, Sarwar’s close aide told Pakistan Today that during the Sunday’s meeting, Khan reiterated his offer to Sarwar who told Khan that he was “ready to work as a party worker” but the party needed to be “institutionalised on modern trends”.
“Sarwar wants PTI to function as a party with a plan of action on every challenge faced by Pakistan. He has asked Imran Khan to form shadow cabinets in center and three provinces so that when PTI comes to power, it should have its plans ready. Moreover, if shadow ministers are working on their given subjects, they could be installed once they are included in the cabinet,” the source added.
The former governor had made up his mind to join the PTI after his meetings with his friends and supporters during his visit to London.