Aleem snubs rumours of joining a political party or launching one

By Ali Imran

ISLAMABAD: Former PTI leader Abdul Aleem Khan — who was disqualified as a lawmaker last year — said on Sunday that he had no plans of joining a new political party or launching one.
“Right now I am only focused on welfare work,” he said in a statement.
Aleem’s remarks come as a clarification after it was reported that some PTI dissidents, led by Jahangir Tareen and him-self, were weighing options to either join the PPP or form a new party.
Another stalwart — former Punjab governor Chaudhry Sarwar — who has strained relations with both the PML-N and PTI, also sees his future lying with either the PPP or the Tareen group.
At least 25 PTI MPAs — including Aleem — had violated the party line last year and voted for PML-N chief minister candidate Hamza Shehbaz. Under the court’s order, these lawmakers stood disqualified.
Subsequently, the PML-N awarded them tickets for the by-polls last July in return for their ‘sacrifice’. However, almost all of them lost to the PTI, paving the way for the ouster of short-lived chief minister Hamza.
Similarly, some PTI dissident MNAs from the Tareen group had joined hands with the PML-N-led coalition in the Cen-tre — incumbent National Assembly opposition leader Raja Riaz is one of them. They are also said to be exploring fu-ture political options.
The move came after Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah recently spoke his party’s mind on the future of the PTI dissi-dents.

He blamed the ‘turncoat factor’ for their loss in the July by-polls and declared that they would not be considered for tickets in the next general election. “The PML-N will prefer the candidates based on the wishes of the workers of the constituencies,” Sanaullah had said.

A dissident PTI lawmaker told media on Saturday that after getting a cold shoulder from the PML-N, a debate had be-gun within the group over whether they should launch their own party or explore other options.