KARACHI: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government came into power amid high expectations. Prime Minister Imran Khan, during election campaigning, decried corruption and nepotism and promised accountability every step of the way.
Winning on the back of these promises meant eyebrows were raised and the party was criticised when it apparently went back on its word with some appointments being questioned and ministers being involved in controversy.
PML-N and PPP voiced reservations over the conduct of elections and led a protest outside the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) office in Islamabad. Reactions of political leaders bordered on aggressive after ECP Secretary Babar Yaqoob informed the nation that the Results Transmission System (RTS) had collapsed. Opposition parties cried foul and demanded an investigation.
PM Imran created a parliamentary committee to probe the accusations headed by Defence Minister Pervez Khattak.
PTI MPA ‘thrashes’ citizen
The party’s newly-elected member of the Sindh Assembly, Imran Ali Shah, was caught on video thrashing a citizen in the middle of the road near National Stadium in Karachi.
The lawmaker said in a video message that while waiting at the signal two motorists began quarrelling. Shah apologised for his actions and said that the viral video did not show the motorist verbally abusing and pushing him.
The party sent a show-cause notice to the MPA saying “no one is above the law.”
The curious case of Zulfi Bukhari’s appointment
Objections were raised over Syed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari appointment as special assistant to PM Imran.
Bukhari, popularly known as Zulfi Bukhari, is a close aide and friend of the premier and was appointed as the special assistant to the prime minister for overseas Pakistanis and human resource development.
Not only is Bukhari being investigated by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in connection with establishing offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), he was also stopped from flying to Saudi Arabia with the PTI chief but was later granted a one-time permission.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan admitted a petition challenging his appointment and directed the federal government to submit Bukhari’s credentials as a well as a complete record of his appointment.
“The court intends to see whether such appointments had been made on the basis of friendships or in accordance with the law,” the chief justice said.
Pakpattan DPO transfer
The abrupt transfer of Pakpattan DPO by newly-appointed Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar stirred controversy after the Supreme Court took notice of the incident.
Buzdar allegedly transferred district police officer (DPO) Rizwan Umar Gondal on the complaint of Khawar Maneka, the former husband of PM Imran’s wife and first lady, Bushra Bibi. The SC later took notice of the incident.
Dr Atif Mian’s appointment to EAC
Dr Atif Mian’s appointment to the Economic Advisory Council caused issues with far-right groups due to Mian’s faith. Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry initially defended the appointment which was lauded by the public.
“Should we throw minorities out of the country? Atif is part of our economic council. The world is raving about him. People who say negative things about minorities are extremists. Every Muslim has a duty to protect minorities,” the minister had said while speaking to the media
Five days later, however, Mian was “asked to step down”. Over the next two days two other members of the council, Dr Asim Ijaz and Imran Rasul, resigned in solidarity.
Agreement with the TLP
Criticism also followed the government’s decision to sign an “agreement” with Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan. Following the Supreme Court’s verdict that absolved Aasia Bibi – a Christian woman accused of blasphemy – protests organised by the TLP broke out in major cities across the country. PM Imran took a strong stance in a televised address and warned the TLP leadership against challenging the writ of the state. However, shortly after the government signed an agreement with the party to end the protests.
Faisal Vawda’s misogynistic comments
PTI leader and federal minister for water resources Faisal Vawda faced backlash after making misogynistic comments against PML-N’s Azma Bokhari on a television show.
During a heated argument on the show, Vawda asked Bokahri, “Jayen, jayen. Apnay ghar ka choohla jalayen. (Go, go! Tend to your kitchen.)”