ABBOTTABAD: Fissures emerged in the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the local government in Abbottabad on Tuesday after a dozen members of the tehsil council resigned en masse.
The resignations came just a day before the Tehsil Council Abbottabad was scheduled to convene to decide the fate of a no-trust motion against Tehsil Naib Nazim Sardar Shujah Ahmed.
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Local PTI and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders had joined hands in an unprecedented move to vote out Ahmed through a vote of no confidence.
PML-N’s Ansar Hayat Abbasi had tabled the motion after securing the support from 21 members of his party. Surprisingly, 12 PTI members had backed his motion through a show of hands on February 6.
Surprisingly seven members of the Jamaat-e-Islami in the council abstained from the proceedings and announced that they would not attend the February 15 session when formal voting on the motion is scheduled. JI is a coalition partner of PTI in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provincial government.
Abbasi and those supporting him had accused Ahmed accused him committing corruption to the tune of Rs870,000 in the purchase of furniture for use in the council.
However, after intervention from the the PML-N leadership, including former K-P Governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmed, Senator Barister Javed Abbasi, Sardar Shamoon Yar, MPA Aurangzeb Nalotha and Abbottabad District Nazim Sardar Sher Bahadur, the matter was resolved at a local jirga last Sunday. The PML-N had subsequently announced that they would withdraw the resolution against Ahmed.
Following the announcement, the 12 PTI members who had backed the motion, got annoyed over the move and decided to resign from the council.
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One of the 12 members who resigned told The Express Tribune on the condition of anonymity that they had backed the no trust motion against Ahmed at the behest of local leadership. But with the PML-N had softened its stance without taking them on board.
“They are using us for their politics, which we will not allow. However, we will create a situation where the PTI’s local government could possibly face a hard time,” he added.
When approached for comments, Tehsil Nazim Ishaq Sulemani appeared confident about resolving the matter through negotiations and back channels.
“Yes, 12 out of the 26 PTI members [in the council] have tendered their resignation but we have refrained from taking any action as we want to resolve the issue through mutual understanding,” Sulemani told The Express Tribune.
He added that they were expecting more resignations since around 17 members had held a secret meeting to deliberate over the matter.
Sulemani added that the dissenting members were in fact annoyed with the PTI’s leadership for including Abbottabad-based cabinet members, MPAs and MNAs. He added that these disgruntled council members had also shared their apprehensions about the attitude of the party leadership towards them.
The nazim, though, said that he and other party leaders were busy addressing the complaints of dissidents to resolve the crisis amicably.
“I am optimistic the matter would be resolved very soon,” Sulemani claimed adding that their apprehensions have been discussed with elected parliamentarians of the party.
In a council of 57 members, the JI and PTI jointly formed the Tehsil government.
However, the mass resignations after moving a no confidence motion only signals a deepening crisis.
Sulemani, meanwhile, refuted reports that the council’s session would be postponed since the 12 members are expected to formally announce their resignations during the session.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 15th, 2017.