ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan on Wednesday held a meeting of the PTI’s parliamentary party in Punjab but did not nominate a candidate for the office of Punjab chief minister.

It was expected that Mr Khan would disclose the name of the party’s candidate for the slot as many party members were said to be in the run for the office.

“The meeting was focused on how the PTI MPAs should act once its government is formed in the province,” PTI’s spokesman Fawad Chaudhry told Dawn on Wednesday.

Responding to a question, he said the issue of Punjab CM had not been discussed in the meeting and the name of the party’s nominee for the slot would be announced by Imran Khan before Aug 11. Fawad Chaudhry is said to be one of the probable nominees for the office.

The PTI has claimed to have secured 186 seats in the provincial assembly out of total 371 with the support of allies and independent candidates and therefore the party is said to be in a position to form its government in Punjab as well.

Earlier, addressing the parliamentary party of Punjab, Imran Khan warned MPAs that the masses would reject those who came into politics to serve their personal interests. He urged them to work tirelessly for the betterment of the masses and predicted that PTI’s performance would wipe out other parties from the political arena.

He reaffirmed his commitment to bringing out the underprivileged and weak segment of society from the poverty trap by providing them special incentives under a ‘welfare state’.

Mr Khan said that since 1970, this was the first time in the country’s history when people voted for ideology. Criticising both the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), he said people made an example out of these two parties for deviating from ideology and serving their personal agendas.

Speaking on the occasion, PTI’s vice chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi said few elections had steered the course of history. “The elections of 1935 had changed the history of the subcontinent and the elections of 1970 stood distinctive in their nature as the masses were given the right to vote. However, the elections of 2018 have given a new direction to politics,” he remarked.

He said voters had utterly rejected the corrupt lot that was hollowing out the foundations of the country through bad governance, corruption and nepotism for decades.

“The 2018 elections appeared lethal to PPP in Punjab as the party has been completely vanished from the province,” said Mr Qureshi, adding that the PML-N was also on the verge of collapse as the people had rejected it completely.

Commenting on the joint opposition’s protest against alleged rigging in the elections, the PTI vice chairman said: “A group of crooks gathered in Islamabad. The only driving force behind the flop-show is hatred of Imran Khan and fear of PTI’s popularity.”

Later briefing the media about the meeting, Mr Qureshi said the PTI had emerged as the single largest parliamentary party. “We now have the required majority to form our government at the Centre as well as in Punjab,” he claimed.

He said PTI was the only party that had representation in all provinces and at Centre and thanked independent MPs-elect for extending their support to the party.

Published in Dawn, August 9th, 2018