Former Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid) leader Parvez Elahi on Tuesday formally announced that he and 10 of his allies are joining the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which will appoint him the party president as part of the merger “deal.”
The announcement came within hours of PMLQ President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain revoking Elahi’s basic membership of the party and removing him as the party’s Punjab president. “After lengthy discussions, Parvez Elahi and other leaders have finally decided to join PTI today,” PTI Senior Vice President Chaudhry Fawad Hussain told press outside Khan’s Zaman Park residence in Lahore, where Elahi had just concluded a meeting with the PTI chief.
Claiming that the PTI had welcomed Elahi and his allies as part of the road to a “new Pakistan,” Fawad praised the former Punjab chief minister for supporting Khan “through thick and thin.” The PTI leader also confirmed—at Elahi’s prodding—that the former PMLQ leader would be appointed the president of the PTI and this decision had been approved by the party’s senior leadership.
Fawad went on to explain that appointing Elahi as the president was a “process” that had to be followed in line with the PTI’s constitution. However, Elahi interjected by stressing that the PTI chief had already “promised” him the post and it would be accomplished per the ousted prime minister’s wishes. “I have supported Imran Khan during difficult times and proved my loyalty as chief minister,” said Elahi, who dissolved the Punjab Assembly at Khan’s insistence despite publicly admitting that he did not believe it was a wise choice.
Nonetheless, Elahi maintained, he and Khan would continue to work together to ensure the PTI secured victory in Punjab following elections.
PMLQ ousts Elahi
Hours before the PTI’s announcement, PMLQ President Chaudhry Shujaat issued a statement clarifying that Elahi was now “banned” from using the PMLQ’s name. Recalling that the party had issued a show-cause notice to Elahi last month, suspending his membership, for publicly discussing the merger of the PMLQ with the PTI, it said that a meeting of the party’s senior leadership had agreed that as a provincial president Elahi lacked the authority to merge the party with any other group.
The statement also noted that Elahi had attempted to oust the PMLQ leadership through a “fake” and “unconstitutional” meeting. “While acting against the party’s central leadership, you attempted to plot its dismissal. This step by you has caused immense damage to the party,” it said, adding that as Elahi had failed to provide any clarification for his actions, he had now been dismissed from the PMLQ.