Chaudhry Parvez Elahi joins PTI with 10 former PML-Q MPAs

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Lahore: Former Punjab chief minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi on Tuesday announced that he was joining the PTI along with ten other former MPAs of the Pakistan Muslim Leaque-Quaid (PML-Q).

Addressing a press conference in Lahore alongside PTI Vice President Fawad Chaudhry, Elahi said he had always stood with former prime minister Imran Khan during “hard and testing times”.

“Parvez Elahi is quitting the PML-Q and is joining the PTI,” Chaudhry confirmed.

Chaudhry said Elahi also met the PTI chairman in this regard, adding that the party “appreciates” the role played by the PML-Q.

“Parvez Elahi has the support of Moonis Elahi and Hussain Elahi too,” he said. “There were two options. Either merge the PML-Q with PTI or they join PTI.”

Chaudhry welcomed the new PTI members to the party. On the occasion, he also highlighted that no one knew the whereabouts of Zaigham Khan and Muhammad Khan Bhatti so far.

“We will stand together with the new PTI members,” he said, adding that Elahi’s name had been approved for the role of PTI’s central president.

Talking to the media, Elahi lashed out at Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for shutting down the health card.

Elahi said no such step would be taken that harms the PTI’s reputation, adding that he will work “wherever Imran wishes” for him to.

Elahi earlier visited and held a meeting with Imran at his Zaman Park residence that was attended by senior party leaders from both sides.

Elahi had on January 15 addressed a possible merger of the PML-Q with the PTI and said his party’s decision would surface after their consultative meeting to thrash out the proposal.

At another point, Elahi was more candid in his response, saying his son Moonis Elahi also wanted both parties to merge and proceed in politics with a consensus. “Any such merger will strengthen the party,” Elahi had said.

A day later on Jan 16, PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat had sent a show-cause notice to Elahi and suspended his membership over his comments regarding the party’s possible merger with the PTI.

It said that the PML-Q, as a political party, has its own identity, vote bank, party discipline and manifesto — which were all violated by Elahi’s comments. “If any of them wanted to join another party then they should relinquish their positions and resign, otherwise the PML-Q would have no other option but to approach the Election Commission of Pakistan to de-seat them,” it had added.

On the other hand, the PML-Q electoral college office-bearers authorised had Elahi, the party’s provincial president at the time, to take decisions on behalf of the party with regard to its merge into the PTI on Imran’s offer.

Differences in PML-Q ranks

Differences in the PML-Q ranks first appeared in March last year around the time of the no-confidence motion against Imran as Parvez and Moonis Elahi entered the PTI camp while Shujaat joined the then-opposition.

The same split was witnessed in July’s Punjab chief minister election saga as Shujaat supported the candidature of PML-N’s Hamza Shehbaz instead of Parvez.

Amid a widening rift between the Chaudhrys of Gujrat, Shujaat had extended an olive branch in August to Parvez, asking him to put an end to differences.

The PML-Q leader had talked in detail about the reasons that led to discord between him and Parvez. He, however, had called for the reunion of the party that split into two camps following the rift over the election of the Punjab CM.