Prime Minister Imran Khan and Defence Minister Pervez Khattak on Thursday exchanged bitter words during a parliamentary party meeting of the PTI and its allied parties.
The meeting was held to chalk out the strategy for passing the Supplementary Finance Bill, dubbed “mini-budget”, in parliament.
According to sources, Khattak lashed out at the premier, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin and Energy Minister Hammad Azhar.
As per the sources, Khattak stood from his seat thrice and criticised Tarin and Hammad.
He accused Hammad of being unaware of the gas and electricity problems.
“The gas and electricity producing province [K-P] has been deprived of new gas connections,” he complained.
Taking to Twitter on Friday, Hammad Azhar, however, denied that Khattak had criticised him in the meeting. “All statements attributed to Pervez Khattak regarding me are false and fabricated. He neither mentioned my name nor referred to me during the meeting,” he wrote on his verified handle on the micro-blogging site.
Khattak added that Tarin had been unable to satisfy him even in the cabinet.
He told the premier that unelected people were sitting in the cabinet.
He added that the people of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa had elected him the prime minister, but still they were the ones losing the most.
The minister claimed that there was a ban on new gas connections in K-P.
“If this goes on, we will not be able to vote for the mini-budget.”
The prime minister retorted that he would not be blackmailed.
If you don’t want to vote, then don’t. If you are not satisfied with me, I will give the government to someone else.”
The premier added that he had no interest in governing and he had no factories.
Khattak left the meeting after that and federal ministers Ali Zaidi and Murad Saeed persuaded him to return.
During the meeting, MNA Noor Alam also raised tough questions.
He asked as to whether or not the security institutions would be affected by handing over the autonomy of the State Bank.
“Will we also provide the account details of the security agencies to the IMF?” he inquired.
The premier replied that he wanted to make it clear that there would be no compromise on national interest.
“The protection of our security agencies is the first priority in all cases,” he added.
Alam again said the people in their constituencies ask them to provide gas, electricity and water.
“Will we get gas, electricity and water from the mini-budget?”
MQM members said basic necessities should not be taxed.
The premier told them that the government was aware of the problems of the people.
“We will not impose any additional tax which will be a burden on them.”
Talking to media after the meeting, Khattak said he was surprised to see that such a big storm had been raised.
“You people [media] made such a big fuss. I tell the media to stop it. I only went out to smoke [when he left the meeting],” he added.
"There is a gas problem in our province. I had only raised the question of stopping our gas schemes.”
The minister maintained that we all have internal issues. “There are all sorts of talk in the party. There was no harsh talk. I am not against the prime minister and cannot be.”
The premier summoned Khattak to his chamber and discussed with him the matter taken up during the parliamentary party meeting. Federal Minister Omar Ayub was also present on the occasion.
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