As the country witnesses what are being termed by pundits as the “most controversial” Senate polls in its 74-year history, it has emerged that joint opposition’s candidate Yousuf Raza Gilani met with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Jahangir Khan Tareen days before the critical electoral process marred by horse-trading allegations.
Sources claim that Gilani, who is the Upper House candidate of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) from Islamabad besides being a critical election for the opposition to give the ruling PTI a tough time, met Tareen at the wedding of another ruling party lawmaker’s son.
Interestingly, both the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) stalwart and Tareen, who reports claim is at odds with Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan’s government since after the sugar crisis scandal, have over the days leading to the Senate elections denied having met each other.
“I have always strived for the PTI with my heart and soul and my support is always for the party,” Tareen was quoted as saying when he denied the meeting of which The Current also has photographic evidence.
The former premier, on the other hand, had also refuted speculation that he met Tareen. “I have neither met Jahangir Tareen neither established contact with him,” he had told media persons on the same day as the PTI leader.
“The two spent quite a lot of time at the wedding of veteran politician and PTI MNA Riaz Fatyana’s son on February 11. They exchanged pleasantries and were seen dining together on top of spending almost all their time at the event with each other,” sources told The Current.
Sources, however, could not confirm the topics of discussion between the two leaders from rival parties and if then-forthcoming Senate polls or Gilani’s election, in particular, were among the things discussed between Gilani and Tareen.
While Tareen and Gilani could not be reached out for a comment, another attendee of the said event, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader and former National Assembly speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq has confirmed the encounter.
Speaking to The Current, Sadiq said that Fatyana has good relations in each and every party and he had known the now PTI and former PML-N leader since the year 2000.
“We have been colleagues since 2002. At his son’s wedding, I was the only MNA from PML-N. Gilani Sahib was the only one from PPP during the one hour I was there. If others came later, I have no idea. But there was no discussion on the issue of Senate at all.”
While Sadiq did confirm Tareen’s presence and exchange of pleasantries between the politicians, he said that he did not notice any interaction between Gilani and Tareen for as long as he himself was there.
A contest for the crucial Islamabad seat in the Senate is currently underway between Gilani and Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh. The vote count is scheduled to begin at 5 pm.