ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) has been hijacked by those who had quit other parties to join it and now it is being stuffed with the rebels of PML-N and PPP, a senior leader of PTI said on Wednesday.

“Imran Khan is a very honest person. He believes in idealism, but the party has been hijacked by a group that joined the PTI during its heydays. For example, PTI Secretary General Jehagnir Tareen is a successful businessman, not a politician. The party has to be run by politicians”, said PTI lawmaker Siraj Mohammed Khan, who had refused to resign when Imran Khan asked his legislators to quit last year to protest the government’s obduracy to probe the PTI’s election rigging charges.

Talking to The Nation, Khan asserted that rejected politicians of PML-N and PPP were being welcomed in the PTI which had damaged its popularity.

“I had joined the party for its manifesto and not for a personality. The manifesto is still better than that of other parties. Our leader is very honest but the people surrounding him have different backgrounds. If we fill the party with rejected members of other parties, we will not be doing any favour to the PTI”, he commented.

The lawmaker from Nowshera said the old guards of the party need to be brought to the top even if the inclusion of people from PML-N and PPP was unavoidable.

“Decision making should be done by the MNAs and other elected people as they know the pulse of the masses better than technocrats”, he suggested.

Khan said Shah Mehmood Qureshi has a much better profile than Jehangir Tareen as he has a political background”, said the PTI leader.

Asked if he was also on the hit-list after the suspension of Justice Wajiuddin Ahmed (retd) from the party, Khan said, “I don’t think so. I believe in Imran Khan’s leadership”.

Siraj said he does not know if Wajih will return to the party after his suspension but he can recall people like Shireen Mazari and Fauzia Kasuri who had resigned and were welcomed back later on.

He defended the politicians who quit parties to join others, saying, “They do it for the people of their constituencies. They change parties to better serve their people”.

Hamid Khan, another PTI dissident leader, said that in major parties it was natural to have different points of view. “Internal differences should not be discussed in public. I am hopeful all the differences would be settled in the party meetings”, he anticipated.

Khan, a senior lawyer and founding member of the PTI, said that the party meetings had been ongoing and would bring positive results.

About the suspension of Wajiuddin Ahmed by Imran Khan, the senior vice President of the PTI said, “I won’t comment of the party’s decision. These are party matters and will be discussed within the party”.

Imran Khan had met Hamid Khan and Wajiuddin Ahmed last week to resolve the differences. Party leaders had claimed that Imran had been able to sort out issues with Wajiuddin but his suspension indicated the disagreement persisted.