LAHORE: Jehangir Khan Tareen, once a close friend to Prime Minister Imran Khan, on Tuesday formalised the split in the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, when he announced parliamentary leaders of “his group” — both in the National and the Punjab assemblies.
Raja Riaz, a member of the National Assembly from Faisalabad, and the most vocal supporter of Mr Tareen, was named the group’s parliamentary leader in the National Assembly, while Saeed Akbar Niwani in the Punjab assembly.
The announcement came at a dinner hosted by Mr Tareen at his residence where, according to Raja Riaz, four more MNAs and as many MPAs had joined the group. This, Raja Riaz claimed, had brought the total strength of the group close to 40.
These parliamentarians are expected to accompany Mr Tareen to the court where he would be appearing for renewal of his bail.
The announcement triggered a taunting match between the PML-N and the PTI supporters on social media. The PML-N people reminded the PTI that while trying to take ‘sheen’ (Shehbaz Sharif) out of `noon’ (PML-N), the PTI has lost its`tay’ (read Tareen).
PTI Senator Faisal Javed Khan, however, tweeted to remind everyone: “Imran Khan is the PTI and PTI is Imran Khan.”
Political leaders, however, saw it coming. “It was a possibility, rather probability,” said Shahid Mahmood, a local politician, while talking to Dawn.
Published in Dawn, May 19th, 2021