Thursday, June 20, 2024
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PML-N leader Hashmi joins Imran Khan’s party

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Karachi/Lahore: Former Premier Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N on Saturday suffered a major setback when its senior Vice President Makhdoom Javed Hashmi joined cricketer-turned- politician Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf party calling it a “symbol of change” in the country.

Hectic efforts last night by Sharif’s close aides to persuade 63-year-old Hashmi not to leave the party did not produce any results, PML-N sources told PTI.

Sharif spoke on phone with Hashmi, who reportedly told the former Premier that he had already made a commitment to Khan. “I have joined the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf as it is a symbol of change in Pakistan.

The Tehrik-e-Insaf is the party that will rid the country of crises,” Hashmi told reporters before flying to Karachi this morning to participate in a rally to be held by Khan’s party tomorrow.

He further said: “I am with the Tehrik-e-Insaf because of Imran Khan’s slogan of change. The Tehrik-e-Insaf is an appropriate platform to play an active role to do something for the country.”

Asked if the Tehrik-e-Insaf had the backing of the security establishment, Hashmi said all political parties had faced this allegation in the past “but there has been no truth in it”.

He said he had no differences with Nawaz Sharif and his brother, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

Referring to the Sharif brothers and the leadership of the ruling PPP, Hashmi said politicians who had assets abroad should be barred from taking part in elections.

Hashmi’s decision to join the Tehrik-e-Insaf could help dispel the impression that the party has the backing of the security establishment, political analysts said.

Hashmi is known for his criticism of the military and he was jailed for over three years during the regime of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf.

In recent months, Hashmi has criticised the policies of Nawaz Sharif and was largely sidelined within the PML-N. Hashmi was also unhappy at not being given a larger role in the PML-N’s affairs even though he played a key role in leading the party while the Sharif brothers were in exile in Saudi Arabia.

Imran Khan’s party has rocked the political arena by organising a string of large rallies across the country in recent months.

A sizeable number of senior politicians from other parties like the PML-Q and PPP, including former Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, have joined it in recent days.

Despite Khan’s denials, leading politicians like Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani have insisted that the Tehrik-e-Insaf has the backing of the powerful military establishment, which is believed to be upset with President Asif Ali Zardari. (PTI)

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