Shah Mehmood Qureshi might lead PTI sans Imran Khan: Sources

Islamabad: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and party’s Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi do not really like each other, but, as luck would have it, the latter is the most likely option, acceptable to those who matter, to lead the PTI in the absence of the former, media reports said.

There are no confirmed reports about Qureshi’s interactions with the powerful quarters during his post-May 9 stay in the Adiala jail under the MPO (Maintenance of Public Order), but there are talks within important government circles about Qureshi leading the PTI, The News reported.

“Shah Mehmood Qureshi will lead the PTI minus Imran Khan,” an official source said, the report said.

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When asked about the reported bitter meeting between the two on Wednesday at the Zaman Park residence of Khan, he said, “It does not matter.”

According to another official source, “Our information is that both Khan and Qureshi do not like each other, but they are together for their respective political interests.”

“Interestingly, Qureshi is also suspected within the PTI of having contacts with the relevant quarters yet Imran Khan recently announced that in case of his arrest, Qureshi would lead the party. Imran Khan fears that he can be arrested anytime. With his arrest, it is said, the minus-Imran Khan process will technically start, paving the way for the emergence of Qureshi as PTI’s head,” The News reported.

According to a PTI leader, Imran Khan will not recuse himself at this stage and before his arrest, to save the party from further desertions of its second and third-tier leaders.

Qureshi, the PTI leader said on condition of anonymity, can have the lead role only after Khan’s arrest or conviction in any case.

Qureshi, it is said, may not be a popular leader for the PTI followers and ranks but his acceptability to the powers that be, makes him most suitable to save the party from further damage, The News reported.

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