No secret is the acrimony between Jehangir Khan Tareen and Shah Mehmood Qureshi – the two political heavyweights that are leading their own groups within the PTI – the party that has been ruling the Centre as well as the provinces of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. The two political giants have been bent upon outdoing and undoing each other since becoming part of the Imran Khan’s party before the 2013 general elections and don’t bother about washing their dirty linen in public.
Infighting and groupings within political parties for individual and factional gains is nothing unusual, it’s a part and parcel of the politics of constituency that runs across our political system. But that this acrimony between two leaders of the ruling party – one of whom is a key member of the federal cabinet – is affecting the vital issue of governance is where it becomes a matter of public importance and cannot be overlooked.
That Qureshi, the foreign minister, has this time raised a very valid question to target Tareen, his opponent, has made it difficult for the party leadership to just ignore it as a typical political fight. At a recent press conference, Qureshi – flanked by another senior party leader, Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar – openly criticised Tareen, who stands disqualified by the top court for not being honest and trustworthy, for sitting in on cabinet meetings. This criticism led to several of the cabinet members speaking in favour of Tareen, clearly pointing towards the split within the party ranks.
This split within the ruling PTI is serious, with Prime Minister Imran Khan clearly siding with one of the two groups within the party that are at odds with each other. Even more serious is the fact the Prime Minister appears to be siding against the group that has apparently taken a lawful stand.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 4th, 2019.
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