ISLAMABAD                -            A close aide to PTI founding member Naeemul Haque on Saturday disclosed that a race among some cabinet ministers had started to get allotted the late party leader’s official residence in the Minister’s Enclave of the capital even before his death.

“Some federal ministers have been eyeing his residence after it became known to the close circles of the late leader that his health condition would not improve and that he was at the last stage of the deadly disease,” Gul Hameed Khan Niazi, central media advisor of the ruling party and a close aide to late Haque, said without naming anyone.

This revelation has come at a time when there is growing resentment among the rank and file of ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) over the treatment meted out to the late leader before and after his death.  A number of party workers, The Nation spoke to, have shown their anger while questioning why the party leaders except a few ones did not attend the funeral prayer of the leader.   

On February 15, then Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Political Affairs Naeemul Haque passed away after battling blood cancer for the last two years. He was among the five founding members of the PTI and trusted loyalist of Prime Minister Imran Khan for the last four decades. Haque and PM Imran Khan became close friends in London when the latter developed a stress fracture in 1983, and the former famously gave his exercise bike to him for his recuperation.

Niazi and National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri were very close to Haque and regular visitors of his Bungalow No.15 in the Minister’s Colony, just furlongs away from the famous Constitution Avenue of the capital.

“On the evening of February 10, I drove the ailing party leader to the airport as he sat on the front seat of his official vehicle while Suri and his son Amanul Haque were sitting in the rear seat,” he said adding that Haque even wanted to get the official flag removed from his vehicle but it remained intact on his insistence.

Niazi, however, dispelled the impression that some PTI leaders had forced Haque’s son to take his father to their hometown Karachi by saying that he was being shifted abroad for treatment. “Some four months before his death, we had sought medical advice from US and UK wherein doctors clearly opined that the disease was beyond treatment.”  The PM advisor got his treatment from a local hospital in Islamabad and paid the bills from his own pocket as he was not willing to get his bills paid from the national kitty, Niazi added.

The central media advisor of PTI admitted that Haque had been stressing to stay and be buried in Islamabad and had also chosen a place in the Rumli village, located in the foothills of Margalla Hills behind Islamabad’s Quaid-e-Azam University, for his grave. The PTI leader also wanted to build a house for himself in the same locality, he added.

 “Suri and I were present in the room when his son tried to convince his father to leave Islamabad for the hometown Karachi. Haque, at first, resisted and later, when pressed by his son, agreed to depart for Karachi,” Niazi recalled. He said that Haque’s son had told him that he wanted to take his father to Karachi so that he could be laid to rest beside his mother in a local graveyard of the metropolitan city.

Nazli Jamil, the wife of Haque who was nicknamed as Nazo by him, had died in 2008 due to cancer.

In January 2018 eight months before the general elections, the PTI leader was diagnosed with blood cancer.