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Differences in Imran's party over decision to boycott polls

world Updated: Mar 06, 2012 13:44 IST
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Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf vice-chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi has reportedly developed serious differences with party chief Imran Khan over the latter's unilateral decision to boycott recent by-elections to the national and provincial assemblies.

The former foreign minister's differences with Khan appear to be linked to his inability to contest bye-polls to a parliamentary seat in his hometown of Multan.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani's son bagged the seat, securing more votes than Qureshi had polled in the last general election.

Qureshi fears future elections will be an "uphill task" for him, The Express Tribune quoted its sources as saying.

Sources said that former foreign minister Qureshi and several other Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf leaders had expressed their reservations over Khan's decision to boycott last month's bye-polls.

Khan and Qureshi exchanged "harsh words" over what Qureshi described as a "unilateral decision" made without consulting other party leaders, the Tribune quoted sources close to the two leaders as saying.

Some Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf leaders said Qureshi was angry at Khan for letting Gilani's son win the seat without a contest.

They said the relationship between the two leaders was so tense that Qureshi was contemplating leaving the party and contesting the upcoming general election as an independent candidate.

A member of Qureshi's family, who did not want to be named, said the former minister sometimes regretted his decision to join the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf instead of the PML-N.

Party officials said the former minister had been trying to convince Khan not to boycott the polls.

"You need to be in the system to change it," Qureshi was quoted by sources as having told Khan.

However, the sources said Khan had stuck to his decision to boycott the elections.