LAHORE: Amid a renewed wave of defections, apparently in the wake of May 9 arson attacks on state buildings and army installations, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf suffered another blow on Monday when Chaudhry Parvez Elahi’s confidant decided to part ways and rejoined his parent party — PML-Q.

Ahead of announcing his return to the parent party, Wajahat Hussain met PML-Q president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, expressing hope that his elder brother would forget the mistakes of his younger siblings and welcome them back home.

Speaking at a presser at the Muslim League House, Mr Wajahat, flanked by Shafay Hussain, said that he and his son Chaudhry Hus­sain Elahi had decided to return. Perhaps, he said, those who created cracks within the family were now trying to mend. Mr Wajahat claimed he had never joined the PTI.

Mr Wajahat, who had always been a close confidante of former chief minister of Punjab Chaudhry Parvez Elahi and oversaw political matters in the Gujrat district, had supported Mr Elahi and his son Moonis Elahi over a significant decision to depart from the parent party and join the PTI.

Wajahat rejoins PML-Q, plans seat adjustment with PML-N in upcoming elections; ex-CM,son continue to support Imran

Mr Elahi along with all his elected MPAs and MNAs had announced joining the party last year and later was given the portfolio of PTI central president. PTI chairman Imran Khan had given party tickets to all 10 former MPAs for the Punjab general elections.

Condemning the May 9 riots, Mr Wajahat said the entire Pakistan was condemning the arson attacks on state buildings and army installations.

Mr Wajahat said he would even ask Parvez Elahi to return home, emphasising the importance of the entire family engaging in politics as a united force.

He said he would apologise to those, whose sentiments may have been hurt by his remarks, including comments about the Chaudhries’ dealing with Mian Mansha.

He denied other rumours being linked to him. He also said that he had not been in contact with Moonis Elahi since long.

“I believe the country needs decent politics that should serve as a unifying force,” he said adding that the Chaudhry family would be seen together in the future.

Speaking on the occasion, Shafay Hussain said Moonis Elahi had told Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain that the family members would continue to meet but “everyone is free to pursue politics that best suits them”. Since Moonis said this, “let us engage in politics in a manner that suits us,” he added.

Shafay Hussain also revealed plans for seat adjustment with the PML-N in the upcoming elections and urged Parvez Elahi to bridge the gulf created within the family.

Answering a question, Mr Shafay said that during a meeting with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Shujaat Husain strongly condemned the May 9 riots and expressed grave concern over the torching of state buildings, army installations and monuments of martyrs.

While sources close to Parvez Elahi camp claim that Mr Wajahat had been pressured to change the loyalties, Moonis said he, his father and all associates were standing firm with Imran Khan.

In a video message, Chaudhry Parvez Elahi said he and his son Moonis were standing with Mr Khan and added that Mr Khan had given him the office of the chief minister of Punjab, which he returned when asked. He said Mr Khan had also fulfilled all the promises he made with him and it was his return to reciprocate in the same manner. “This is the cardinal principle of our politics,” he added.

Mr Elahi said he and his son were also standing with Mr Khan’s narrative. But, he said, he always wished and expressed that the army was a state institution and should be respected as well as the offices of the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Prime Minister of Pakistan and chief ministers of respective provinces.

Parvez Elahi said that he was not against Mr Wajahat for rejoining his parent party. He added that he was also telling his family members not to be worried about this defection.

Published in Dawn, May 23rd, 2023

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