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Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Thursday claimed that PPP's Dr Babar Awan would be joining his party tomorrow.

An associate of Awan's in conversation with DawnNews today claimed that the senator would hand in his resignation to Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani in the coming days and undertake a new step along his political journey in which, he said, the PTI held 'great significance'.

Khan, during an uncharacteristic exchange with journalists at an iftar party, said he had also decided to invite Awami Muslim League leader Shaikh Rashid to join his party 'soon'.

He added that Rashid had fought remarkably well against the 'mafia' ─ an apparent reference to the PML-N government, which the Supreme Court had earlier likened to a 'Sicilian mafia'.

The PTI chief also warned the government not to make the Panama Papers joint investigation team probing the Sharif family's wealth controversial or, he said, the party would agitate after Eid.

Khan was positive the next election would be held in 2017. "That's why we held our intra-party election," he said.

On a lighter note, the PTI chief brushed off wedding rumours, saying he had no intention of remarrying before the next election.

PPP defections

The PPP has been losing members to PTI in recent weeks as former stalwarts such as former federal ministers Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Nazar Muhammad Gondal, Imtiaz Safdar Warraich and Nawabzada Ghazanfar Gul have already bid adieu to their former parties.

Groupings within the party and local political issues are said to be the reasons behind the desertions.

Mr Warraich, who served as minister of state for communication in the PPP government during 2008-13, was dejected when he was removed from the post of the president of the party’s central Punjab chapter for “failing to deliver”.

Since then there were reports that he is quitting the PPP to join the PTI.

His grievance deepened when Qamar Zaman Kaira from the rival party group was nominated as the central Punjab chapter chief.

Dr Awan also had complaints against Mr Kaira when the PPP was in power as she had accused him of interfering in her ministry (of information and broadcasting). She, however, alleges that the party leadership has sacrificed “political interests of Punjab to save political interests of Sindh”, creating panic among PPP leaders in Punjab.

The PPP has also failed to play the role of “real opposition” in accordance with the wishes of the masses “making the party irrelevant” in the province, she says.

Mr Gondal is said to be annoyed with the PPP for not lending him support in the Rs40 billion EOBI corruption case against his brother Zafar Gondal.

Mr Gul was not happy at the PPP’s reconciliation with the PML-Q as the latter’s leaders Chaudhry Shujaat and Pervaiz Elahi are arch-rivals of the Nawabzadas in Gujrat district politics.