It was a carefully worded but apparent threat to topple the provincial government.
Opposition parties in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Assembly on Wednesday warned the government they would exercise their democratic right to bring a change if governance in the province does not improve.
The warning came after a meeting of opposition parties at the assembly building with Leader of the Opposition Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan Abbasi from Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in the chair.
Following the meeting, Abbasi told reporters that despite the passage of seven months, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led government was yet to come up to the people’s expectations.
He said the opposition had allowed PTI to form a government after the general elections in respect for the public mandate, but warned a democratic change will be likely if the status quo continues. Abbasi informed that the opposition parties have decided to call an assembly session and will submit a requisition to the Assembly Secretariat within a day or two.
Welcoming the recent meeting between Chief Minister (CM) Pervez Khattak and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, he said the premier had assured the CM the province would receive all its dues under the 18th Amendment and that K-P was getting its due arrears under the National Finance Commission Award and net hydel profit proceeds.
Continuing his criticism of the government, Abbasi said he feared development funds for the present fiscal year could lapse as they are yet to be utilised. He said the government had been rendered toothless as all decisions were being made from Bani Gala, PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s palatial mansion in Islamabad. He also claimed this has destroyed the government’s decision-making capability. Abbasi said opposition parties had fairly supported the government in several important legislation processes, but the government had pushed them away. “If they (the government) do not change their attitude, the province will suffer,” said the lawmaker from the Hazara belt.
The former chief minister said the opposition had concerns over the K-P Local Government Act, 2014 and had thus challenged it in the Peshawar High Court. He also said K-P will be most affected after Nato forces withdraw from Afghanistan but the government was yet to start preparing for it.
PTI has been recently facing a barrage of political attacks by the opposition, especially since it parted ways with former coalition partner Qaumi Watan Party (QWP), which led to an increase in the other side’s numbers. On January 26, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) took out a protest rally against the PTI-led government, lambasting it for its “poor” seven-month performance. Moreover, the Awami National Party (ANP), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and JUI-F announced a district-level alliance on Monday for the local government polls.
Wednesday’s meeting of opposition parties was attended by ANP’s Sardar Hussain Babak, QWP’s Sikandar Hayat Sherpao, JUI-F’s Maulvi Asmatullah and PPP’s Nighat Orakzai.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 30th, 2014.