Another PPP stalwart from central Punjab and former federal minister Nazar Muhammad Gondal announced his decision to join the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Tuesday, merely a week after former PPP minister Firdous Ashiq Awan joined Imran Khan's party.
A ceremony organised to welcome him into the party in Nathiagali was attended by PTI central leadership including Firdous Ashiq Awan.
"I am not leaving PPP because of any grievances, on the contrary, they have given me the utmost respect during my time with them. I'm joining PTI because I see this party as the only active organisation working against the status quo," Gondal told the media during the ceremony.
Gondal had confirmed to Dawn last week by phone that he along with his family and political group from his constituency NA-109 would formally join the PTI at Banigala.
He said: “It had become difficult for me and my associates to put up with the [PPP] leadership’s soft opposition policy towards the [ruling] PML-N.” He accused the PML-N of victimising his supporters in Mandi Bahauddin.
Accompanying Gondal at his joining ceremony, PTI Chairman Imran Khan chose the moment to target Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the backdrop of the recent joint investigation team (JIT) hearings.
"Nawaz Sharif is the godfather of the mafia in Pakistan," Khan stated referring to the comments made by a Supreme Court judge after PML-N Senator Nehal Hashmi's outburst against the judiciary.
"The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has a history of making threats. The JIT is being maligned as part of planned conspiracy," Khan said.
"Nehal Hashmi's speech was part of PML-N's plan," the PTI chairman insisted.
He warned that the investigation team was under threat, adding, "The JIT is at the risk of being attacked like the Supreme Court was."
"PML-N should remember that this isn't 1997."
Reminding the PML-N of its past, Khan said, "When the moment of accountability arose during the Musharraf era these people made a deal and ran away. Those who have been talking about accountability all these years are finally investigated."
The cricketer-turned-politician noted that unless the Qatari prince showed up the PML-N would fail before the JIT.
"The Qatari [prince] is not coming... the PML-N is stuck," he quipped.