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When asked about reports of two other ex-PTI leaders, Hashim Dogar and Murad Raas of planning to “form a new group and identity”, he said, “They are our own people. There will be no separate group and we all will move forward together.”
Standing alongside Ilyas, former Punjab minister Nauman Langrial also said, “We will welcome anyone who is ready to leave the PTI and its narrative.”
These statements come amid reports of the JKT group — which had emerged as a faction in the PTI comprising the party’s dissident parliamentarians — stepping up efforts to poach as many PTI defectors as it can to swell its ranks ahead of general elections.
In recent days, several PTI members, including prominent leaders, have party ways with the party following a state crackdown on it over allegations of their involvement in vandalism during May 9 protests following the arrest of PTI chief Imran Khan.
On May 29, Tareen held a meeting with former PTI leader Aleem Khan at his residence in the provincial capital, according to a Dawn report. The meeting was also attended by former minister Ishaq Khakwani, PM’s aide Aown Chaudhry, Saeed Akbar Niwani, and Shoaib Siddiqui, the report said.
Though there has been no word from the Tareen group regarding their re-entry to the political arena, reports suggest that the former PTI leader and financier would re-launch his political career with a new political party.
Chaudhry and Khaqwani did not respond to Dawn‘s queries regarding the group’s plans to form a new political party, but a source claimed that there was a race between Tareen and Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain of PML-Q to woo the maximum number of former PTI members.
“Tareen, in light of his lifetime ban, is keen to get a clean chit from the apex court to lead the new political entity, while Aleem will have to seek blessings of the establishment and PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif to fulfil his dream of becoming the Punjab chief minister,” according to the insider.