LAHORE: The PML-N on Tuesday confirmed the party is in touch with the disgruntled Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) group led by Jahangir Khan Tareen to seek its support to oust the Imran Khan government.
When asked whether the party was making efforts to woo the JKT group, PML-N MPA Hamza Shehbaz said: “We are in contact with everyone (including the JKT group) as our sole target is removing Imran Khan.”
To another question about Minister for Water Resources Moonis Elahi’s statement that his party (the PML-Q) stood with the PM, Hamza said: “The opposition is working on its plan to send the PTI government home and it will succeed.”
Hamza was talking to journalists outside an accountability court where he appeared in the Ramzan Sugar Mills corruption reference.
Later, the Jehangir Tareen group met to discuss the current situation emerging after the opposition’s efforts to woo PTI allies. The meeting was held at the residence of the chief minister’s former adviser, Awn Chaudry, and was attended by 20 PTI MPAs and six MNAs.
Talking to reporters after the meeting, Mr Tareen said the purported no-confidence motion had not been tabled yet and it was not clear whether it would be at all.
To a question about any contacts with the opposition, he said the group had gathered after a long time and it was yet to be seen how it should play its role in the current political scenario.
He further maintained political leaders stayed in touch with each other, adding the group would hold more huddles to discuss their future strategy.
Mr Tareen said they also talked about inflation during the meeting, but nothing specific about the no-confidence motion. “It is premature to discuss this issue,” he concluded, urging the premier to provide relief to the masses.
Earlier, it was reported that Mr Tareen had met Maulana Fazlur Rehman last week, but did not make any commitments and sought time to respond. Reportedly, the Tareen group comprises 30 PTI MPAs from south Punjab and eight MNAs.
On the other hand, Shehbaz Sharif, who appeared in the Aashiyana Housing and Ramzan Sugar Mills corruption references, told reporters that PM Khan was more bothered about destroying the economy, causing unemployment and taking huge loans than the opposition’s activities. “Imran Khan has destroyed the country. Corruption worth billions of rupees was committed in the sugar, wheat, LNG and other sectors,” he claimed.
PML-N leader Tallal Chaudhry said the “strategy” to oust the government could not be disclosed. “The PDM is forming a committee in a few days that will formally meet the government allies,” he announced.
After Moonis Elahi’s assurance to PM Khan, the ruling party has asked the opposition to stop pinning hopes on the government allies. “After Mr Moonis’ statement the opposition can do nothing. He (Shehbaz Sharif) was being efficient to save himself from accountability about a sum of Rs4bn deposited into the account of his peon Maqsood (in the FIA’s Rs16bn money laundering reference),” state minister Farrukh Habib tweeted.
Published in Dawn, February 16th, 2022