Analysis: Shah Mehmood Qureshi more important than Jahangir Tareen for PTI politics

June 24, 2018

The rift between PTI leaders Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Jahangir Khan Tareen is out in the open. But which of the two bigwigs is more important for PTI’s political adventures?

Agenda 360 hosts Haider Waheed and Moiz Jaferii discussed the two men’s importance for PTI.

“Jahangir Tareen is a former secretary-general and current airplane financier of the PTI,” said Jaferii. “Shah Mehmood Qureshi is the spiritual leader of the party in northern Sindh and southern Punjab.”

[caption id="attachment_1458022" align="aligncenter" width="768"] PTI chief Imran Khan (C) sits with party leaders Jahangir Khan Tareen (R) and Shah Mehmood Qureshi (L) at the anti-government rally in Islamabad on November 30, 2014. Photo: AFP[/caption]

According to Waheed, PTI derives its vote bank from Imran Khan’s clout. “Votes are cast in his name,” he said. “The second most important person whose name gets votes for the party is Qureshi. As many votes are not cast in Tareen’s name.”

But here’s the catch. “Tareen has an airplane,” said Waheed. “Both the men bring two different kinds of contributions to the table for PTI. Tareen has an airplane, experience and an association with the constituencies that Imran tried to appease. Therefore, both men are important. However, the two must not be considered political equals. They may be equal in the eyes of Imran Khan. But in terms of politics, Qureshi is far more important.”

[caption id="attachment_1458032" align="aligncenter" width="608"] PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi (C) speaks to media alongside party leaders after a meeting with a committee for the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) amid ongoing anti-government protests in Islamabad on August 23, 2014. Photo: AFP[/caption]

Jaferii said that perhaps Qureshi’s political clout is the reason he has been “tolerated” despite not owning an airplane.

“He doesn’t have an airplane but he has his own flights,” said Waheed. “But Tareen has an airplane. Qureshi is perhaps forgetting that Tareen’s disqualification does not change the fact that his airplane has still not been punctured.”

Waheed said that Tareen draws his power from his closeness to Imran. “Qureshi does not. He is a political entity. In my opinion, Qureshi has already won this battle.”

Fallout from the feud?

Will PTI suffer electorally due to the rift between Qureshi and Tareen? Waheed doesn’t think so. According to him, PTI’s vote bank remains intact as “95% to 99% of the votes are cast in the name of Imran Khan.”

[caption id="attachment_1458047" align="aligncenter" width="768"] PTI chief Imran Khan (R) and Shah Mehmood Qureshi (L) address a press conference in Islamabad on January 14, 2012. Photo: AFP[/caption]

Jaferii said that there are 10 to 15 “solid constituencies” whose vote bank depends on Qureshi. “Even then, that’s barely 5%,” said Waheed. “And then Shah Mehmood isn’t going anywhere from the party. I don’t think the feud impacts an Insafian beyond a few constituencies.”

Jaferii said that perhaps the two leaders are just “wasting our time” and will again become friends – just like they did when SAMAA TV anchorperson Nadeem Malik intervened.

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