ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has evidently divided into two groups: the elected members of parliament, and the heavyweights who could not win the elections but are close to the leadership.
This manifested again on Thursday when PTI MNA Dr Arif Alvi apologised over the allegations of ‘35 punctures’ while the party’s office-bearers remained unyielding as regards the party’s original stance.
PTI chief Imran Khan had claimed over a year ago that Najam Sethi, former caretaker chief minister of Punjab, had called Nawaz Sharif on election night and assured him that the ‘35 punctures’ had been fixed, allegedly referring to electoral rigging in 35 Punjab constituencies.
On Thursday, Alvi issued an apology to Sethi on the microblogging website Twitter: “It is time to apologise for 35 punctures. Many rumours regarding source of information & content were afloat and I believed some of them.”
After the tweet was posted, the PTI’s other group sprang into action and said the party had not changed its original stance regarding the allegations of rigging in the 2013 general elections. Party leaders Naeemul Haq and Jahangir Tareen also did not support Alvi’s views.
Interestingly, the PTI’s counsel did not quiz Sethi about the ’35 punctures’ when he appeared before the inquiry commission for cross-examination at the Supreme Court.
Outside the court premises, however, the party has not missed any opportunity to accuse Sethi of playing a role in the alleged rigging in 35 Punjab constituencies.
Earlier, without apologising in explicit terms, the party chief had said the ’35 punctures’ remark was of ‘a political nature’.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd, 2015.