Former Punjab chief minister Pervaiz Elahi on Tuesday formally joined the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) along with 10 former provincial assembly members, in a move not unexpected to the keen watchers of the prevailing political scene in the province.
Elahi’s announcement came after the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain sacked him as the party’s Punjab president and revoked his basic membership.
Addressing a joint news conference along with PTI Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry, Elahi said he had always supported PTI Chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan during thick and thin.
“We stood firmly with Imran Khan and will continue to stand with him in the future. We have complete faith in his leadership and we’re thankful to him that he has given us this opportunity,” Elahi said.
The former MPAs, who joined the PTI included Hafiz Ammar Yasir, Shujaat Nawaz, Abdullah Warraich, Bao Rizwan, Sajid Bhatti, Ahsanul Haque, Mohammad Afzal, Basma Chaudhry and Khadija Umar Farooqui.
Earlier, Elahi, along with the 10 former MPAs met with the PTI chairman at Zaman Park and discussed the political situation in the country.
Moosa Elahi, Chaudhry Maqsood, Khurram Munawwar and Haji Umar Habib were also present in the meeting.
Speaking on the occasion, Fawad said the party welcomed Elahi, Moonis Elahi, Hussain Elahi and their aides. “Now they have become part of the PTI and will start their journey under the leadership of Imran Khan for New Pakistan,” he said.
Fawad underscored that Elahi had rendered sacrifices and remained steadfast with Imran. He added that the PTI chief offered Elahi to join the party because it would be a win-win arrangement for both sides.
“Elahi and his supporters always stood with Imran Khan,” the senior PTI leader said.
Fawad added that Elahi would also be given the post of president in the PTI and the senior leadership had already approved the decision.
To a question, the former chief minister said that if anyone thought he switched parties because of some “signal”, then that was “good news” because he wished to “take everyone along”.
Elahi, 77, became the chief minister of Punjab for a second time with the support of the PTI, after he sided with Imran just before the PTI chief’s removal from the office of the prime minister through a no-confidence motion.
At that time, the PML-Q favoured the no-trust move. However, the PTI chief then nominated him for the post of the chief minister. He was elected to the post in July despite opposition from Chaudhry Shujaat.
In January, Elahi dissolved the Punjab Assembly, calling for early elections in the province on the instructions of the PTI chairman. On Jan 15, Elahi had indicated at the possible merger of the PML-Q with the PTI.
However, the next day, PML-Q president sent him a show-cause notice and suspended his membership of the party over the merger comments.
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