LAHORE – Former law minister and senior jurist Syed Iftikhar Hussain Gillani and former MPA Iftikharuddin Khattak Friday left PTI to join PML-N, which warmly welcomed them to its folds.

Both are said to have been central leaders of the PTI (Pakistan Tehrike Insaaf) and Gilani has been the Senior Vice President of the PTI.

They called on PML-N (Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz) President Nawaz Sharif at his Raiwind residence and announced the decision to join his party.

Syed Iftikhar Hussain Gilani, a Kohat based lawyer-cum-politician, had served as minister in Benazir Bhutto’s first Cabinet and he was unhappy over Benazir’s joining the hands with the then bureaucrat-turned-President Ghulam Ishaq Khan, though he continued to be a great admirer of Banazir.

He later joined the PML led by Nawaz Sharif but then again mover back to the PPP ranks and remained with that party until 2002, when he developed differences with Benazir over the award of party tickets for the election. Gilani remained relatively inactive till he joined the PTI on December 20, 2011 – but now he says he could not reconcile with Imran Khan’s policies on various issues.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, Pir Sabir Shah, Mehtab Abbasi, Pervez Rashid and Amir Muqam were present on the occasion of joining of Syed Iftikhar Hussain Gilani and Iftikharuddin Khattak. Nawaz Sharif expressed the hope that PML-N would gain more strength in Khyber Pakh-tunkhwa with their joining. The newcomers said they repose full trust in the leadership of Nawaz and Shahbaz and they find in them “true saviours of the country”. Iftikhar Gilani even said that only Nawaz could steer the country out of current crisis.

Meanwhile, former minister in the PML-Q Cabinet, Rana Shamshad Khan called on Nawaz Sharif at Raiwind and announced his joining the PML-N. The PML-N president welcomed Rana in the party who expressed confidence in leadership of Nawaz.

Shahbaz Sharif, Hamza Shahbaz Sharif and Senator Pervez Rashid were also present on the occasion.