Cracks have started to appear in Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) days after the arrest of party chairman Imran Khan, with top leaders Omer Ayub Khan and Shah Mahmood Qureshi categorically denying such reports saying “no one can replace Imran Khan”.
Their reaction came after sources told Geo News that PTI leaders called each other “traitors” during a recent meeting.
According to the sources, the core committee — PTI’s apex body headed by Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi, running the affairs after Khan’s arrest — has divided into two groups.
“The rival groups exchanged harsh words during a meeting and declared each other traitors,” the sources within PTI told Geo News.
The PTI leaders, they said, blamed each other for leaking details and recordings of core committee meetings.
“Some members of the body are of the opinion that serious matters cannot be discussed in the core committee meeting anymore.”
A PTI leader confided to Geo News that he would reveal the name of the traitor if PTI Secretary General Omar Ayub and Senator Shibli Faraz allow him to identify the person.
“A traitor is sitting right here, one of the leaders claimed during a meeting.”
The party sources claimed that the secretary-general was in constant contact with the member who declared him a traitor in the core committee, party sources said
It has also been claimed that Omar Ayub and Shah Mahmood Qureshi are also vying to succeed the PTI chairman as the party chief.
‘Traitors in PTI’
Earlier, PTI leader Sher Afzal Khan Marwat claimed that there are traitors in the core committee and Imran Khan`s legal team and they have put his life in danger. “The presence of the traitors in the PTI core committee is beyond any doubt. They have passed on recordings of the core committee meetings to the opponents and even to media persons,” Marwat said in a statement.
“Shockingly, the Legal team’s Zoom meetings details/recordings have been shared with outsiders, which has put my life and liberty in serious jeopardy. I have gone underground for the first time, and I may be caught by the designated team anytime.”
He further claimed that he has informed the party and recorded voice messages about those chasing him.
“Yesterday, I went into hiding, and I am unsure if I am safe, but I have identified my chasers and sent their names to a group of lawyers for legal action in case I go missing. It is increasingly becoming difficult to trust people within the very close circles of the party. If I am allowed by the relevant persons in the party and if I survive the hunt, I will share the names of the traitors very soon.”
‘No one can replace Imran Khan’
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, PTI Vice Chairman Qureshi termed the reports false saying they are aimed at spreading confusion among the party’s ranks and files
“There is no truth to such reports..no one is replacing Imran Khan,” he added.
Qureshi said the PTI’s Core Committee is working in a difficult situation and there is no replacement for Imran Khan in the party.
He said the core committee is the custodian of the party chairmanship until Khan’s release from prison.
As long as chairman is in prison, core committee will never violate what it has been entrusted with, Qureshi added.
Meanwhile, Omar Ayub has termed the report “totally fabricated” and reiterated that “Imran Khan is our Chairman and will remain Chairman PTI InshaAllah”.
He also denied the existence of any groups in PTI or the core committee.
“Decision-making is being done with consensus and very smoothly as per the framework made by Imran Khan himself,” Ayub said in a statement on social media and added that he held Shah Mahmood Qureshi in the highest of regards and esteem.
There has never been any argument in any core committee meeting of PTI between anyone, he insisted.
“Sorry to disappoint our opponents, but PTI Alhumdolillah, is a united juggernaut that will decimate our opponents during the upcoming General Elections with Allah’s Will and the Public’s support InshaAllah!! Prepare to face us in the electoral field.”