LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi has rejected rumours about him joining Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) as rubbish.

“I am part of the PTI family and the vice-captain of Imran Khan,” he said at an election corner meeting in Mumtazabad late on Sunday.

He said PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari offered him to join their parties before joining the PTI.

Quoting Mr Khan, he also said he would have been the chief minister of Punjab if he had won the provincial assembly election in 2018.

“I wanted to convey my message to all PTI workers that I and my family would not leave the party and I would continue serving as the vice-captain to Imran Khan,” he said.

Mr Qureshi said he felt awkward by calling Raja Riaz as the opposition leader. It was Raja Riaz he said that Mr Qureshi conducted a meeting with Asif Ali Zardari and would join the PPP. “I reject the claims of Raja Riaz and will never rejoin the PPP,” he said.

He said the PML-N gave all 20 tickets for by-election to ‘turncoats’ but voters would reject them in the by-elections on July 17.

He said he submitted pre-poll rigging evidence and violation of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) rules and demanded action for using state machinery for rigging.

“The state machinery is being used in the by-election on the directions of Hamza Shehbaz but the PTI would not allow pre-poll rigging in the by-election,” he said.

Mr Qureshi further said that PTI workers were attacked at three different places in Multan and despite this, they were maintaining peace in the election campaign. “It is not my fault that people are chanting slogans against the lotas in the streets and Maryam Nawaz is also asking the voters not to vote for the lotas,” he said.

He thanked the people of Islamabad and Rawalpindi for making Imran Khan’s Parade Ground rally successful and said that people knew about this corrupt government because all the previous records of inflation were broken by the current government.

Mr Qureshi said the by-election had become a matter of life and death for Hamza Shehbaz and he was using state machinery to rig the election.

“We would have been the majority party if the ECP had decided the result on special seats earlier,” he said.

He claimed that the number of PML-N and its ally parties in the assembly is 172 while PTI has 173 seats in the assembly while adding that the corrupt government would have to go home if the PTI won 20 seats in the by-election.

Published in Dawn, July 5th, 2022

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