IN JUST 27 HOURS, sugar mogul Jahangir Khan Tareen has captivated the hearts of former Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leaders seemingly by simply flicking his wrist. The JDW Group chief, once a former PTI leader and aide to Imran Khan himself, was once hellbent on organising independent candidates like collectors’ items for the sake of propelling the PTI into stardom in the run-up to the last General Election in 2018. And now, in a political coup, Tareen has enticed them to join his ranks and form a new party.
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This team of defectors, now part of a newly-inducted umbrella political party dubbed the Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party—or Stability of Pakistan party—comprises a number of former PTI ministers and notable members alike. Fiery names such as that of Fawad Chaudhry—who had popularly said that they would “steal freedom” for the sake of the PTI—as well as Fayyaz ul Hassan Chohan, and Ali Zaidi—who had so much faith in the PTI chairman post the 9 May riots that he had stated that if someone were to tell him to abandon Imran Khan, they would have to “shoot me in the forehead, as God is my witness,”—in addition to Aleem Khan, Murad Raas, Firdous Ashiq Awan, and Imran Ismail—the former Sindh governor and acclaimed singer who had created an anthem so popular it practically rang the bells of the PTI’s 2018 electoral victory—and a plethora of others will certainly hit the ground running come election season for Tareen’s new effort. It is pertinent to recollect that these new party members—of which there are over 100—who dined yesterday at Tareen’s residence had ironically told the public of their intentions to take a “break” from politics before joining the Istehkam-e-Pakistan. Most were captured by the paps with their head in their hands.
It is incredible to witness the feat of watching the party Imran Khan had crafted over a period of 27 years crumble to mere ashes in a matter of 27 hours to the hands of Jahangir Tareen. The sudden exodus of prominent PTI members to Jahangir Tareen’s party raises concerns about loyalty to Khan, personal ambitions, and the stability of the PTI. Perhaps the Tehreek-e-Insaf wasn’t a match made in heaven, after all?
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But the question remains—how does Khan himself feel about this? “I didn’t know most of the people leaving us,” he says. “But I do feel quite isolated.” ∎