LAHORE - PTI Chairman Imran Khan, following the advice of his close aides, has distanced himself from a meeting with PML-Q Chief Chuadhry Shujaat Hussain and PAT head Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri, which was being considered as the first dialogue for forming a grand opposition alliance.

A close aide of the PTI chief, privy to the developments on this count, told this correspondent on Friday that Imran was approached by both PML-Q and PAT in London for taking part in an informal political moot.  Imran, after returning home from London where he had gone to spend some time with his sons, consulted his senior colleagues and decided to stay away from the meeting.

He revealed that his close aides had advised him to distance himself from PAT which was neither part of the parliament nor did it believe in change through constitutional means. They further advised the PTI chairman to stay away from Chaudhrys of Gujrat as they didn’t possess a political weight at this stage with two seats in the Parliament.

They advised Imran that PTI should not join hands with any ‘tonga party’ whether it was Awami Muslim League of Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed or Muslim League of Chaudhrys of Gujrat, while Dr Qadri’s PAT had not become a real political entity as yet.

According to him, Imran’s inner circle members were of the view that PTI was the leading political party in the largest province of Punjab, which had made a comeback first time in Faisalabad by winning a bye-poll and second time in Hafizabad by grabbing another seat of the provincial assembly in a bye-poll on Thursday (May 29).

They advised Imran that he, instead of following the gimmicks of the parties possessing no political weight at national level, should politely dictate them his own terms, being a leading political force.  Shah Mehmood Qureshi, PTI vice chairman, when contacted, said, “Imran Khan had no plan to take part in any political meeting in London. The party chairman was in London to spend some time with his sons.”  About the possibilities of formation of a grand opposition alliance, he said, “I can’t comment clearly on the issue at this stage as we are struggling for electoral reforms. However, future major developments will make everything clear.”

He said, “We have met with the leadership of PPP, PML-Q and JI for the purpose of electoral reforms, which supported our struggle. We are contacting JUI-F, ANP and nationalist parties of Balochistan and Sindh for this purpose and we expect meetings with them in the near future.”

Commenting on the timeframe for getting results from PTI anti-rigging drive, Qureshi avoided a direct comment and said: “It’s not a construction project and we can’t give a timeframe, but we will continue our campaign for electoral reforms.”

When asked if PTI accepted the by-poll results under the Election Commission which they alleged facilitated rigging in the 2013 elections, the PTI vice chairman said, “We still stick to our demand of resignations of those ECP members who supervised the 2013 general elections. At the same time we also don’t recognise the PP-107 by-poll as an example of a fair play.”

He claimed the PTI Punjab leadership along with Hafizabad local leadership made good efforts to thwart the rigging plans of the government and won the Pindi Bhattian by-poll despite the rigging by the ruling party candidate under the umbrella of the Election Commission and the district administration.