Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Vice Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), had a second meeting with party leader Imran Khan on Friday following an initially contentious encounter.
Qureshi’s second discussion with Khan since his release last week. Sources claim that in their last meeting, Qureshi, asserting himself as a beacon of justice, suggested that Khan should consider temporarily withdrawing, traveling abroad, or maintaining silence if he chose to remain in the country.
The PTI has been bearing the brunt of governmental pressure after the violent protests on May 9. Angry PTI supporters targeted military establishments after Khan’s arrest, leading to widespread arrests of party members and leaders. This resulted in an increasing number of members disassociating from their leader, resulting in rapid fragmentation of the party and mounting pressure on Khan.
Sources stated that the initial meeting between the two was marred by heated exchanges, with Khan reportedly expressing his displeasure towards Qureshi. However, their recent discussion focused on efforts to free the imprisoned workers and the current political climate.
Amid the ongoing PTI crackdown, Ali Muhammad Khan, a PTI leader, was arrested for the fifth time on Friday following his release from the Mardan Jail. He had been released after an anti-terrorism court (ATC) dismissed all charges related to the May 9 riots and assaults on civil and military installations, instructing authorities to free him unless he was implicated in other cases.
Qureshi had experienced multiple arrests under Section 3 of the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance (MPO) before finally being granted his freedom on Wednesday.
A close acquaintance of Qureshi in Multan stated that in their previous conversation, the PTI vice chairman had requested that Khan allow him and others to resolve the issues and facilitate reconciliation. He further advised Khan that he could reassume his role once the situation had been rectified.