ISLAMABAD -  Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Vice-chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi has denied making any contacts with former interior minister Faisal Saleh Hayat to persuade him to join the party.

Qureshi said that he was neither in contact with Saleh Hayat nor had had any meeting with him on the issue of joining the PTI.

Saleh Hayat, once a close aide to former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, later remained part of the PML-Q government during the tenure of former military dictator Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf.

Qureshi while talking to The Nation, however, avoided directly answer the question whether or not Saleh Hayat, the Sajjada Nasheen (custodian) of the holy shrine of Shah Jewna, was joining the PTI. “I want to make it clear that I am not in contact with Makhdoom Faisal Saleh Hayat to convince him to join the PTI,” he said.

According to some media reports, Saleh Hayat has decided to join the PTI. The reports claim that he has made up his mind after his two meetings with Qureshi.

According to the reports, Saleh Hayat will formally announce his decision at a rally in Shah Jewna in the presence of PTI chief Imran Khan and other party leadership.

Saleh Hayat did not reply to the questions whether or not he has decided to join the PTI.

Sources close to Saleh Hayat said that he has three options in mind; one was to join his former party –the Pakistan People’s Party which he has served for years and also remained a member of its Central Executive Committee; the other was to join the PTI and the last one is to contest next general elections from his home constituency of Shah Jewna as an independent candidate. A source close to him also claimed that Saleh Hayat was also considering forming his own “group” ahead the 2018 elections.

Saleh Hayat was elected to the National Assembly in 2002 on a ticket of Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians and later parted ways with the party and he along with some other PPP leaders including Rao Sikander formed his own party named PPP-Patriots.

This group played the main role in forming the PML-Q government after 2002 elections. Later, he was made the interior minister.