ISLAMABAD: Three days after completing the five-year term as member of the National Assembly on the ticket of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Rashid Godil on Sunday joined the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).
Mr Godil announced his decision to join the party during a meeting with PTI chairman Imran Khan at the latter’s Banigala residence, according to an official announcement made by the party’s central media department.
PTI’s former secretary general Jahangir Tareen, Mian Mahmoodur Rasheed and Zulfi Bukhari were also present on the occasion.
The PTI chairman issued a video message in which he said the dream of making Pakistan a developed country could never be fulfilled without uplifting Karachi. He expressed the hope that the PTI would improve its performance in Karachi in the upcoming general elections, and predicted that the PTI would emerge as the single largest party in the city.
Mr Khan was of the view that Mr Godil’s inclusion in the PTI would help him bring about a “real change” in Karachi since he had a good network in the city, which would prove beneficial for the party.
The reports of Mr Godil’s switching loyalties had been in circulation on the social media for the past few weeks. However, it was unclear whether he would join the PTI or the Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) led by former Karachi Nazim Mustafa Kamal.
The 58-year-old politician from Karachi was elected MNA on an MQM ticket from NA-252, Karachi, in the 2008 elections. He retained his NA seat from the same constituency in the 2013 general election.
In August 2015, Mr Godil survived an assassination bid and was critically wounded after unidentified attackers opened fire at his vehicle near his residence in Karachi’s Bahadurabad area. He had suffered five bullet wounds on his chest, head and arm.
When contacted, Mr Godil said that he had made up his mind to quit the MQM a couple of years ago when no one from his ex-party supported him and he was passing through a difficult phase of his life after the attack on him. Moreover, he alleged that there was infighting in the MQM over the issues of money and the party had totally ignored the people of Karachi.
When asked as to why he did not quit the party if he was unhappy with the MQM leadership’s attitude and why he resigned only after enjoying five-year term as MNA, Mr Godil claimed that he had decided to resign some two years back, but the MQM leadership had requested him not to do so and he complied with it.
When asked as to why he had joined the PTI, Mr Godil said that he personally believed that both the Pakistan Peoples Party and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz had failed to do anything for the people of Karachi and that the PTI was the only federal level party which had the potential to resolve the issues of Karachi.
In reply to a question, he claimed that neither the PTI had offered him a ticket to contest the election nor did he desire to get the party ticket, adding that he had told Mr Khan that he would work to strengthen the PTI in Karachi.
Meanwhile, an influential politician from Chakwal and former member of the PML-N, Sardar Ghulam Abbas, also met Imran Khan and announced his decision to join the PTI.
Sources said that PTI leaders Jahangir Tareen, Ghulam Sarwar Khan from Taxila and Nazar Gondal had played a key role in bringing Mr Abbas to the PTI, the party which he had quit in 2013.
Published in Dawn, June 4th, 2018