Former senator says he will decide after consultation with his party members
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) seems always ready to embrace ‘electable’ politicians and reports are suggesting a new addition – Salim Saifullah Khan, which is nothing but a distant dream, it has been learnt.
“The Safiullahs are not likely to join the PTI as is suggested by media reports,” sources privy to the development told The Express Tribune on Thursday.
“Such decisions are taken [by politicians] ahead of elections,” they said.
“I don’t know how come such reports [of joining the PTI] came in the media,” former Senator Salim Saifullah Khan said while talking to The Express Tribune.
Saifullah said that he had a working relationship with the PTI in Lakki Marwat district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa during the local government elections in particular.
“The Chief Minister [Pervez Khattak] had expressed the desire and asked me to join the PTI,” he said in response to a question. “We have our own vote bank which stays with us irrespective of the party affiliations.”
The Saifullah family somehow remains in power. Anwar Saifullah Khan remained provincial minister during the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government and his son Osman Saifullah Khan is a serving senator while Humayun Saifullh Khan, however, remained connected to the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q).
Saifullah heads a faction of the PML-Q known as likeminded. The splinter group came into being when the likeminded challenged Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain running PML-Q president for more than two consecutive terms in violation of the party constitution but split before the 2013 general elections over the question of joining Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
Out of power corridors for years and with departure of several associates, Salim Saifullah has started testing his manoeuvering skills and ahead of him is another option –unification of Muslim League factions.
“The second option has somehow distracted Salim Saifullah for the time being,” sources said. On the other hand, the PTI is also treading cautiously as some of its latest additions, Ashraf Sohna from PPP in Okara and Tariq Tarar in Mandi Bahuddin, did not do well in by-elections.
The PTI had contacted Saifullah but he told them he will get back to them after consultation with the other members of his group, which is already in disarray.
Some of the leading members of the likeminded group have already switched side as former Senator Shahzad Waseem joined the PTI whereas Senator Haroon Akhtar is associated with the PML-N serving as Special Assistant to the Prime Minister.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 23rd, 2015.