ISLAMABAD -  There seems no possibility that veteran politician Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao will return to the PPP fold to revive the party in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP), The Nation learnt.

Earlier, reports claimed that some PPP leaders were in contact with Sherpao to convince him to return to the party fold to revive it in KP where it received a drubbing in the last general election.

Sherpao, who first formed the PPP (Sherpao) and later launched the Qaumi Watan Party (QWP), told The Nation, he will “never return to the PPP”.

“Contacts here and there do not mean I am joining the PPP.  I don’t know why they keep on spreading such rumours. They threw me out of the party and now expect me to rejoin them; it is strange,” he said.

The veteran politician said that his answer to any PPP leader who contacts him to rejoin the party will be: “No sir. no way. I have my own mission now. I have even changed the name of my party to make it clear. I can’t leave the people who support me for the people who betrayed me.”

Sherpao said that ‘rumours’ spread by ‘some elements’ about his party’s merger with the PPP was disturbing for the reorganisation of the QWP as people ‘get double-minded.’ “This is in fact designed to stop people from joining the QWP,” he said.

The veteran politician, who remained Chief Minister of the now province and Interior Minister during the PPP terms in power, argued that the PPP has taken a “pragmatic shift” and under Asif Ali Zardari and his son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, “the Bhutto ideology is hardly seen”.

Asked if he can consider election alliance with the PPP, he said: “This is a separate topic. This does not mean the merger of the QWP with the PPP or joining a party. But we need to wait”.

Sherpao said that his QWP was working for the rights of Pukhtoons.

“I have my own agenda to ensure rights of the Pukhtoons. Any party can support me in this mission,” he said.

Sherpao initially joined the Army after passing out from the Pakistan Military Academy with 34th long course in 1965 and remained in the military for 12 years.  His political career includes serving as Leader of the Opposition in the NWFP (now KP) Assembly in 1993 and 1997, Chief Minister of the NWFP (now KP) in 1994, senior Vice-Chairman of the PPP from 1997-1999 and leader of PPP Parliamentary party in the NWFP (now KP) Provincial Assembly from 1997-1999.

His QWP is an ally of the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf -ed KP government. This is the second time they have entered into an alliance. The party first parted ways with the PTI months after the 2013 polls brought Imran Khan’s party to power in the province.

The PTI has 56 seats in the KP Assembly making it the single largest party. The Jamaat-e-Islami has seven members and the QWP has 10 members in the House of 124.

Answering a question, Sherpao said that if Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif wins the Panama Papers case, there will be no need to hold snap polls. “It will depend on how the case goes. If the PM is cleared there will be no need for early elections. We can wait for 2018,” he said.

Meanwhile, PPP KP leader Noor Alam Khan said that his party did not need Sherpao in the province. “There have been no talks with Sherpao. If he himself wants to come, we are open but I don’t think we need him for the revival of the party,” he said.

Khan, a former lawmaker, said that the PPP chief (Bilawal) was reorganising the party in all provinces and “we will see much better results in the 2018 polls”.

He claimed that the people in KP were rejoining the PPP amid preparations for the 2018 polls.  Khan said that the PPP will be back to power in the province no matter who leads the party in KP. “The people have now realised, the PPP is the answer to their problems. The PTI has failed to deliver. As a result of the reorganisation, anyone can become the provincial President,” he said.

Other PPP leaders said talks were underway with Sherpao to bring him back to the party. “If there is no merger of the two parties, there could be an alliance for the 2018 polls to defeat the rivals,” said a close aide to the PPP leadership.