High-level negotiations: PTI, JI make last ditch attempt to resolve ministry dispute

Leaders claim no animosity among them, issues will be resolved ‘amicably’.

Manzoor Ali June 09, 2013
The parties have failed to reach an agreement so far despite engaging in talks for the past three weeks. PHOTO: FILE

PESHAWAR: Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders will reportedly meet in Lahore in a last ditch effort to resolve their differences over charge of the provincial educational ministry. Both parties have failed to reach an agreement so far despite engaging in talks for the past three weeks.

JI spokesperson Israrullah Advocate said senior JI leader and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) senior minister Sirajul Haq was in Lahore to discuss issues pertaining to the government with PTI leadership. However, Israrullah denied any deadlock regarding the education ministry.

“K-P is faced with several issues, including load-shedding, poor healthcare and deteriorating security. Control of the education ministry is not the issue,” he maintained.

However, in what could be termed a softening stance with respect to the said ministry, Israrullah pointed out his party would not ruin its relationship with coalition partners over the distribution of ministries. “We are allies and will resolve all issues amicably.”

On the other hand, PTI insiders claim the party is unlikely to allow the JI to take hold of the education ministry.

“The PTI believes there is an educational emergency in the province. It wants to be in control of the education department in order to implement the party manifesto,” explained a senior PTI leader wishing anonymity.

The leader further said since his party’s manifesto was based on education, the PTI would retain control of the ministry in question.  Echoing the views of the JI spokesperson, the leader also said the delay in naming cabinet members was not the result of deadlock over the education ministry. “First of all, this is a coalition government. Secondly, the PTI is creating several checks and balances to keep the cabinet functional in the future,” explained the leader.

He denied knowledge of which ministry would be offered to the JI, but added there were several to choose from.

The tussle over the education ministry came to the fore on May 16, when JI chief Syed Munawar Hassan met PTI Chairman Imran Khan while the latter was in hospital. Following the meeting, Hassan announced his party would take on three ministries in the provincial cabinet: finance, education and zakat and usher. However, amid reservations shown by PTI supporters and commentators, the PTI leadership attempted to clarify the matter by asserting it was not ready to give the education department to the JI.

Though both parties have refrained from speaking against each other openly, at one point the JI alleged PTI’s decisions were being made in Lahore, which further complicated the issue. On Friday, PTI Deputy Parliamentary Leader Shaukat Yousafzai announced the provincial cabinet would be announced the following week.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 10th, 2013.


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