Tareen, who — according to sources — will announce the launch of his “Istehkam-e-Pakistan” party later today, made considerable headway in wooing PTI defectors after over 100 leaders from across the country participated in a dinner thrown by Aleem Khan at his residence in honour of Tareen and his group.
According to the sources, Tareen will announce his new party at a local hotel in Lahore and is set to become its patron-in-chief.
Apart from Zaidi and Imran, Mahmood Baqi Moulvi and Jai Parkash were two of the ex-PTI leaders from Sindh present at the dinner.
Former PTI leaders present at the huddle, who according to sources will join the new party, include Murad Raas, Firdous Ashiq Awan, Muhammad Zaheer-ud-Din Khan Alizai, Fayyaz ul Hassan Chohan, Malik Nauman Ahmad Langrial, Chaudhry Muhammad Norez Shakoor, former secretary general Aamir Kayani, Javed Ansari, Tariq Abdullah, Syed Ghazi Gulab Jamal and Ajmal Khan Wazir from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Moreover, Rafaqat Gillani, ex-MPA from Chishtian, Mumtaz Mehravi and ex-MPA from Sahiwal, Meher Irshad Kathia. From Nankana Sahib, Mian Usman Ashraf and Major (retd) Khurram Rokhri also announced joining the Tareen party.
It is interesting that at the time of their resignations, several of the defectors had announced in press conferences that they were quitting or “taking a break” from politics.
However, during the dinner yesterday, when Tareen announced the formation of the party, the PTI defectors expressed full confidence in Tareen.
The sugar mogul, who was disqualified from contesting for a public office for life by the Supreme Court and was in oblivion, became active once more following the May 9 mayhem and its fallout.
On May 9, PTI Chairman Imran Khan was arrested from the premises of the Islamabad High Court.
Following Khan’s detention, his supporters took to the streets and attacked important military installations including the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi and the Lahore Corps Commander’s House, commonly known as the Jinnah House.
Multiple PTI leaders were arrested under Maintenance of Public Order laws and jailed which led to a mass exodus of PTI leaders.
In a bid to take advantage of these resignations, it was reported that Tareen is likely to announce a new party, mostly comprising the former ruling party’s defectors.
The development was first reported after a luncheon was hosted in honour of Tareen and his aides at the residence of former PTI leader Aleem.