Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) vice-chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Tuesday said his own party conspired against him to ensure his defeat in Punjab Assembly’s PP-217 constituency in the 2018 general election to stop him from becoming the chief minister of Punjab.
He was addressing a rally held in Sadat Colony in PP-217, Multan, in connection with the upcoming by-election.
According to Dawn, the party leader said the PTI’s federal and provincial governments would not have been toppled had he been the chief minister in Punjab.
“Had I been elected (CM), I would have brought about development in the area. Now the people have another chance and they should elect my son Makhdoomzada Zain Qureshi. I was also asked by some of the PTI office-bearers that I should not field my son as candidate for PP-217 but I told them that we will contest election against the turncoat,” he said.
His constituency PP-217 got vacant after 25 members of the PTI in the Punjab Assembly were disqualified by the election commission after defection.
In 2018, Qureshi had contested the general election on a national and a provincial seat and lost to an independent candidate Salman Naeem. To form the Usman Buzdar government, Naeem joined the PTI ranks. But he defected after Imran Khan was removed from the PM slot through a no-confidence motion in the national assembly.
Endorsing Qureshi’s claim, former federal minister Fawad Chaudhry said PTI members had conspired against Qureshi and helped his opponent on the provincial assembly seat.
In the 2018 election, Chaudhry won both provincial and national assembly seats. He also lobbied for the chief minister slot but joined PTI chief Imran Khan in the national assembly as information minister after resigning from the provincial assembly under Khan’s direction.
Another potential contender for the coveted slot, Aleem Khan, was made to join the Usman Buzdar cabinet as senior minister. But he did not show any interest in the position and allegedly continued to lobby against Buzdar.
Aleem Khan was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in February 2019 in a corruption case and was detained for five months.