LAHORE: Internal rifts in the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf resulted in a clash between the activists belonging to two groups within the party at a ceremony, forcing the leadership to leave the venue here on Sunday.
It all began when supporters of Punjab chapter president Aleem Khan resorted to sloganeering against Lahore chapter chief Waleed Iqbal for not inviting Mr Khan to the Quaid-i-Azam Day ceremony held at the Aiwan-i-Iqbal. Iqbal was organiser of the event.
As some of Mr Khan’s activists attempted to reach the stage, the rivals intervened, ensuing a clash between supporters of the two leaders.
The clash forced Vice-chairman Shah Mamhmood Qureshi and information secretary Shafqat Mahmood, who were on the stage, to cut short their speeches and leave the venue.
A press release later issued on behalf of Mr Iqbal claimed that Mr Khan had been duly invited. A couple of screen shots of Mr Iqbal’s emails to various leaders, including Aleem Khan, inviting them to the functions were also shared with the media to shun the impression that the latter was ignored in any way.
Mr Qureshi also endorsed the claim that the entire leadership, including Mr Khan, had been invited to the event, and said that both who came to attend the event and who did not were equally respectable for him.
The vice-chairman, in a bid to stay above the grouping, clarified that he had not come to the event for any group, but to unite the party.
Former Punjab governor Chaudhry Sarwar warned on the occasion that the parties having internal rifts and grouping couldn’t even think of winning polls.
Opposition leader in the Punjab Assembly, Mahmoodur Rashid, said it seemed the workers got disappointed for such people were coming to the fore who had not taken part in the party’s struggle. However, he urged the activists not to lose heart as the party would remain in their control.
Advocate Hamid Khan vowed to continue his struggle for “getting justice, both within and outside the party”.
Published in Dawn, December 25th, 2017