Mutiny threatens Khan’s PTI

March 16, 2014 - 6:09:02 am
PESHAWAR: The fragile government of Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province is seriously menaced by its own disaffected members of the provincial assembly from Mardan who are trying to win support of fellow legislators to form a “forward bloc,” a euphemism for rebel group in the party.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government could face serious challenge if it loses support of only seven MPAs, the number the estranged group claimed has acquired. Chief Minister Pervez Khattak’s government has the support of 69 MPAs in the 124-member Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly.

Iftikhar Mashwani, who is one of the three disgruntled MPAs from Mardan, spoke rebellious about their plans. 

“We are going to make a ‘forward bloc’ if the chief minister didn’t change his behaviour and our reservations were not addressed,” he says.

“We are three MPAs from Mardan and won support of four more from the southern districts of the province. One MPA is going to join us from Peshawar,” he said, indicating that they had already launched a campaign to form the ‘‘forward bloc.’’

Khalid Masood, provincial general secretary of PTI, debunked the seriousness of the division and expressed confidence that no “forward bloc” was going to appear in the party.

“This is just a disagreement which will be solved in the coming two or three days,” he said when asked to comment on the threat posed by the MPAs to PTI. “Disagreement is part of democracy and we also have difference of opinion within our party,” he argued.

The general secretary said the government faced no threat as the 18th Constitutional Amendment did not allow change of loyalty of members of the assembly. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has a coalition government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and Awami Jamhoori Ittehad Pakistan (AJIP).

One of the coalition partners, the Aftab Sherpao-led Qaumi Watan Party was expelled by Imran Khan on charges of corruption. As the party has internal differences, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf also has uneasy relations with JI and AJIP over the running of the affairs of the government.

Iftikhar Mashwani alleged that Chief Minister Pervez Khattak had brought them to this point and he was responsible for it.

He complained of discrimination in distribution of funds and continued refusal by the chief minister to meet them. 

“For two months, I have been requesting the chief minister for a meeting but he has yet to see us,” he said. 

“The MPAs are not being taken into confidence on the issues,” he complained.