Qureshi sees plot in 2018 Punjab Assembly seat defeat

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) vice-chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi said his defeat in the PP-217 (Multan-VII) constituency in the 2018 general elections was a conspiracy to keep him from becoming Punjab chief minister.

“Imran Khan had considered my candidature […] he had instructed me to contest the election on the provincial [assembly] seat,” he told anchor Ehtesham Amir ud-Din while speaking on the latter’s political talk show.

“Why would he say this if he hadn’t decided [to make me Punjab chief executive]. I was contesting for a National Assembly seat anyway.”

During the last general elections, Qureshi won the NA-156 (Multan-III) seat of the National Assembly by a margin of over 31,000 votes but lost the provincial seat to a young, independent candidate, Salman Naeem, by 3,578 votes. Naeem later joined PTI.

At the time, many a people hinted at the involvement of Qureshi’s nemesis from South Punjab and former PTI secretary general Jahangir Tareen in the election upset which shattered his dream of becoming Punjab chief minister.

Qureshi further told Amir ud-Din that Khan had considered two people for the post — him and Tareen. But Tareen was disqualified for life by the Supreme Court in 2017 and his chances of entering the Punjab Assembly and eventually becoming chief minister were doomed.

“Let me make sure I understand this correctly […] a conspiracy was hatched against you following the result of which you lost the election and thereby the chance of becoming Punjab chief minister?” responded the anchor.

“Yes […] I’m revealing this for the first time through your programme […] a conspiracy was hatched [against me] to ensure I lose the election on the provincial assembly seat,” the former foreign minister said.

“A number of factors contributed to [my election defeat].”

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