Former opposition leader National Assembly Raja Riaz has claimed that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi was released from prison in June this year after “he agreed to work against party chief Imran Khan”.
Riaz, the PTI dissident, said this on Saturday while speaking during Geo News’ programme Naya Pakistan.
Qureshi was among the dozens of PTI leaders who were arrested following May 9 riots that were triggered after the arrest of Imran Khan in a corruption case.
Following the violent protests, several PTI bigwigs including Fawad Chaudhry, Aamir Mehmood Kiyani, Ali Zaidi, Pervez Khattak and others parted their ways with the party chief over violent protests that saw attacks on defence and public installations in many parts of the country.
When programme host Shehzad Iqbal referred to Qureshi’s statement that the caretaker prime minister name was not proposed by Riaz, he said: “First ask Qureshi sahib under what agreement he was released from jail and is roaming freely and holding press conferences.”
He said the PTI leaders are either in hiding or in jail, asking Qureshi to clear his position in this regard.
“100% he is outside jail due to some agreement. Those who are still with the PTI chairman are either in jail or in hiding,” he added.
When asked about the purported deal under which Qureshi was released from jail, the PTI dissident said that the PTI vice chairman had agreed or might have given in writing that he would work against PTI chief Khan and “minus” him from the party.
Speaking on the same programme, Qureshi claimed newly-appointed caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar was neither a choice of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) nor Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
“Do you think that country’s important decisions can be taken by Raja Riaz,” Qureshi asked rhetorically.
He also expressed hope that the interim PM-designate will ensure free and fair elections in the country, warning that controversial polls cannot bring stability to the country.
In an unexpected development earlier today, a little-known Senator Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar — a lawmaker belonging to Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) — was named as caretaker prime minister, a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said.
The decision came after the second round of consultations between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Riaz, and a summary to this effect has been approved by President Arif Alvi under Article 224 1A.