ISLAMABAD: A rift has been observed within Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) ranks over the implementation and results of the federal authorities and the Punjab administration following ‘frustration’ shown by government allies.
One of the important cabinet members — Federal Minister of Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry, known for his blatant remarks — wrote a letter to the prime minister, raising questions about the success of Punjab’s [PM’s] protege and chief minister Usman Buzdar and saying that the provincial government gave the ruling PTI a bad name because of its “weak” performance.
Mr Chaudhry’s flare-up on the topic of the performance of the chief minister was also heard on Thursday at the meeting of the PTI core committee chaired by the prime minister.
The opposition, on the other hand, argues that the frustration shown by dissatisfied government allies and reservations shown by PTI’s own leaders like Fawad was a sign that “a whistle was blown against Prime Minister Imran Khan.”
In the face of growing complaints from the allies and within the ranks of the ruling party about the lack of development activities in the country, the Prime Minister commissioned Federal Minister of Planning and Development Asad Umar to hold a meeting with provincial authorities, especially in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where the PTI is ruling and ensure distribution of funds to the district level by announcing provincial finance awards.
PTI leaders in the recent meeting of the parliamentary committee of the party had complained about ignoring the needy people from the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) of party workers in financial assistance cover. They raised their fingers at the BISB Chairperson and Special Assistant to Dr Sania Nishtar, Prime Minister for Poverty Alleviation, for failing to provide monthly financial assistance.
Then some party leaders complained about the non-provision of development funds and no development activity in their constituencies at a recent core committee meeting of PTI.
The coalition partners of the PTI — Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q), Mutahidda Qaumi Movement (MQM), Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) and Balochistan Awami Party (BAP)—have shown reservations regarding their cooperation with the ruling party, prompting the prime minister to set up a committee of senior PTI members to please the allies.
Now it is assumed that Fawad’s letter to the PM is a serious blow to the PTI over the results of its governments both at the Centre, and in Punjab.
The letter said that failure to comply with Article 140A and unequal distribution of funds to districts had caused people to be frustrated and disillusioned. Although a strong federation needs an equal distribution of resources between provinces and district level.
“The government of Punjab is operating in the same way as it was run by the last Shahbaz Sharif administration,” Mr Chaudhry said.
Senior political analyst Sohail Warraich said Prime Minister Khan had already curtailed CM Buzdar’s powers by delegating his powers to Punjab’s chief secretary Azam Salman and police inspector general Shoaib Dastagir, thus blaming the chief minister for lack of performance was “illogical.” He said: “Things won’t change unless there’s a political ownership.”
Mr Warraich said that he did not anticipate any immediate reform in the Punjab administration and that Mr Buzdar will continue to serve as chief minister.
Mr Warraich accepted that there was a rumour that Imran Khan would not replace the chief minister because the Prime Minister’s survival would also come under ‘pressure’ to serve as chief minister in the event he was changed.