Revolt in PTI: dissidents want Khattak’s removal

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PESHAWAR

The revolt by several Khyber Assembly (KP) lawmakers against the KP chief minister (CM) is going to cause irreparable loss to the party.
Pakistan Today learnt that this act is likely to create rift in the party’s central body and parliamentary group in the National Assembly. Target of the revolt is CM Pervez Khattak.
The PTI leadership is making mind for taking disciplinary action against the dissidents and in this respect KP Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser has been summoned to Lahore. But it seems that dissidents and their “invisible” supporters would go for “discussion”, ultimately making their task easy.
On the other hand, scattered but influential opposition in the KP Assembly is likely to multiply Khattak’s woes by filing a requisition for a session. In recent two sessions of the KP Assembly, attendance on the part of PTI lawmakers was very disappointing. On several occasions, the treasury benches survived defeat on resolutions and motions.
According to PTI sources, the forward bloc, which the dissidents call “save PTI” was initially formed by 13 lawmakers but now it has 20 members. Whereas around a dozen KP MNAs are also supporting them. Similarly, a number of female MPAs have already assured the dissidents of their support.
KP Deputy Speaker Imtiaz Shahid is already part of the revolt whereas Qaiser is playing a “dubious” role. He was present in his chamber when the 13 MPAs held their first meeting. They also enjoyed tea with him before going to announce their decision. Insiders said that Qaiser has already completed consultations with opposition leaders and is making his best to get maximum benefit in this regard.
Whatever might be PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s strategy to handle the situation, but the dissidents are very clear. They want the party to “replace the KP CM who is not parliamentary leader of the party but a party choice for the office of leader of the House. They also justify their act by saying, “Neither we have any intention nor in favour of joining or establishing another party. But we are trying to replace, the PTI nominee (Khattak by another PTI man,” a dissident remarked.
Pointing out reasons which forced them to take this decision, the dissident PTI MPA said, “We are aware that all MPAs couldn’t be adjusted against ministerial and other official posts, but we deserve polite and friendly attitude from the CM and ministers.”
So far they are silent but most of the dissidents are unhappy with giving extraordinary free hand to coalition partners – the Jamaat-e-Islami and Awami Jamhoori Ittehad (AJI). A number of dissidents became part of the group after the Health Ministry was given to AJI MPA from Swabi.
Latest reports reveal that Imran Khan is making mind for action against the dissidents and has summoned Qaiser for consultations.
The PTI government since its inception in May 2013 is passing through internal rifts.
Meanwhile, sources said KP PTI President Azam Swati and KP Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser held a meeting with the dissidents in Peshawar. The dissidents showed their anger, saying, “Party manifesto is being ignored in the province.” They also said they were against giving important ministries to coalition partners.