Wednesday Aug 04 2021
Web Desk

Was a 'group-wide software update' behind Chohan's U-turn?

Web Desk
(L-R): Senior analyst Irshad Bhatti, PML-Ns Musadiq Malik and PTIs Amir Dogar, on Geo News programme Capital Talk, on August 4, 2021. — Geo News
(L-R): Senior analyst Irshad Bhatti, PML-N's Musadiq Malik and PTI's Amir Dogar, on Geo News programme Capital Talk, on August 4, 2021. — Geo News

  • PTI MNA Amir Dogar condemns use of religious card against Shahzad Akbar, says "group-wide software update" evident from Tareen faction's recent statements.
  • Salman Naeem of Tareen faction says Chohan's allegations "were not possible to defend".
  • Senior analyst Irshad Bhatti says "software updates do not occur at the MPA level".
  • PML-N's Musadiq Malik asks whether such "updates" are good for democracy.

Following PTI MPA Nazir Chohan's announcement he is bidding farewell to the Jahangir Tareen faction of PTI, both fellow party members, as well as the Opposition weighed in on Wednesday on what could have led to his abrupt change of heart, or as is more popularly known in Pakistan, a "software update".

Their remarks were all expressed during Geo News programme Capital Talk.

MNA Amir Dogar, the PTI's chief whip in the National Assembly, said that it is never too late for one to change and that Chohan has "found his way back".

Referring to Chohan challenging the religious beliefs of the prime minister's adviser on accountability, Shahzad Akbar, he said the use of  use of a religious card for political purposes is condemnable. "A respectable man would not do such a thing [and so Chohan has learned the error of his ways]."

Dogar said that in all the times the party had to vote, such as in the budget, PTI stood as one and everyone voted for PTI. "Everyone became an MPA and MNA on the PTI ticket and so there was never any group within the party."

He said it seems there has been a "group-wide software update", a difference he said that is reflected in its recent statements.

"They're saying only Imran Khan is their leader [...] even his opponents admit that neither is he corrupt, nor does he stand with the corrupt. He does not compromise on anything and cannot be blackmailed."

'Chohan's allegations were not possible to defend'

Meanwhile, Salman Naeem, from the Tareen group, said that the use of the religious card by Nazeer Chohan was indicative of a "software" that the Tareen group itself wanted to "update". He said it had prompted several from PTI to tell Chohan to sort out his differences, if any, in the political battlefield, rather than resorting to personal attacks or challenging someone's religious beliefs.

"As a true Muslim I feel we can not raise questions about anyone's beliefs," he said.

"But Nazeer Chohan sahab would always say: 'No Tareen sahab, I have a lot of proof', and would contact religious scholars."

"He said in his press conference that he levelled the allegations on his own. Even we were finding it hard to defend his position. Such allegations are not possible to defend," said Naeem.

He further said that Chohan's claims that an oath on the Holy Quran was taken by members, to stand by Jahangir Tareen, are false. "We simply expressed our commitment to Jahangir Tareen. And we will stand with him. A person joining us or leaving makes no difference."

'Software updates do not occur at MPA level'

Senior analyst Irshad Bhatti, concurred with Dogar, saying that "software updates do not occur at the MPA level". "[The software] was updated at the top, at the Tareen level".

He added that Tareen "has already been given an NRO" given that the "sugar, flour, medicine mafias" are "too deeply entrenched for the government not to have been blackmailed and come under pressure".

'Are such updates good for democracy?'

PML-N's Musadiq Malik said that if the wayward party member has found their way back, it is a good thing, but the scenario is quite different when he comes back via jail.

"He wasn't getting bail. He was in jail. Then all of a sudden, he asks for an apology, then he is granted an apology, the case wraps up and then there is a press conference.

"This is not the first time for such things to occur. Which is why our conversation about the Constitution and respect for the vote is taking place, and it is this very conversation. This 'group-software update'[...] are such things good for democracy?"

"This is being hailed as a victory for the party but the question remains: is it good for democracy, for the Constitution and for the sanctity of the vote?" asked Malik.

"If today the software is being updated in Dogar sahab's favour and tomorrow it is updated in our favour, then [that is troublesome]."

He also spoke of the same tactics employed for journalists and other Opposition members, naming Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Rana Sanaullah and Khwaja Saad Rafique.

"People being found in the northern areas, heroine being discovered in people's cars, people being named in NAB (National Accountability Bureau) cases, people put death row, these pathways are not good."