Wednesday, December 29, 2021
PESHAWAR: With Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Higher Education Minister Kamran Bangash serving a legal notice on own party stalwart Arbab Mohammad Ali over some allegations, the fissures between the PTI's KP leaders continue to deepen in the aftermath of the party's defeat in the first phase of 2021 local government elections in the province, The News reported.
Arbab Mohammad Ali, who is the brother of PTI MNA from Peshawar, Arbab Sher Ali and cousin of Arbab Shehzad, advisor to Prime Minister Imran Khan on Establishment, had accused Bangash of selling a ticket for Peshawar city mayor to a wealthy businessman and receiving Rs20 million from a total amount of Rs70 million.
Mohammad Ali had applied for the PTI ticket for the Peshawar city mayor slot but despite being an influential figure and former nazim of Town-III Peshawar, he wasn't considered by the party and the ticket was given to an Abu Dhabi-based businessman Rizwan Bangash who lost to the joint candidate of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazlur Rahman (JUIF), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), and Qaumi Watan Party (QWP).
Apart from the price hike for basic commodities and gas and power loadshedding, the rift within the PTI leadership, particularly the role of the party's elected representatives was another major factor behind Rizwan's defeat in the polls. Also, his unfamiliarity to the majority of PTI workers added to the loss.
Enraged by the refusal of the party ticket, Arab Mohammad Ali reportedly circulated a video in which he had made some allegations against some senior PTI leaders, including Governor Shah Farman and Higher Education Minister Kamran Bangash, accusing them of selling the party ticket to Rizwan Bangash for Rs70 million.
Top PTI leadership in preliminary investigations had found that they lost the city mayor elections due to the alleged negative role of Arbab Shehzad’s family.
Some of them claimed Prime Minister Imran Khan was well aware of these developments and he was planning to soon relieve Arbab Shehzad of the responsibility.
Some unknown people started an organised campaign on social media a few days ago, saying the prime minister has decided to appoint Arbab Shehzad as KP governor to replace Shah Farman, an old friend of the PTI chief. Though it was not clear who was behind this media campaign, obviously it was not favourable to Arbab Shehzad.
Sensing the consequences of the video of Arbab Mohammad Ali and his serious allegations against the PTI leaders, Arbab Shehzad tried to explain his position in a tweet, “After the policy statement issued by PM @ImranKhanPTI regarding KP LG elections, any further comments by PTI members are unwarranted. In the same spirit, I dissociate myself from the video clip/ statement made by Muhammad Ali Arbab.”
In the legal notice, a copy of which is available with The News, Kamran Bangash through his lawyers stated, “To begin with, you recorded or caused to be recorded a ‘video’ of ‘yourself’ wherein you made false allegations that 'PTI ticket for mayor of Peshawar seat in the recent past local government election was sold for Rs70 million'; and that 'Kamran Khan Bangash got Rs20 million and Shah Farman, Governor KP got Rs50 million' And you further uploaded, published and aired that ‘video’ or caused that video to be uploaded, published and aired with the ‘false allegations’ contained therein.”
Kamran Bangash denied vehemently all allegations against him and termed them false and baseless, saying he was never involved in awarding party tickets alone, rather a committee was constituted comprising of 10 senior PTI leaders, including the chief minister, provincial ministers for consultations and nine out of the aforesaid 10 members had recommended Rizwan Bangash for that city mayor seat.
“And you as a candidate for the ticket had not been individually recommended even by a single member of the committee. Having said that, you nevertheless alleged corruption against our client (Kamran Bangash) which is vehemently denied as false, concocted and baseless,” it is stated in the legal notice.
Kamran Bangash has given seven days to Arbab Mohammad Ali to offer an unconditional apology in the same manner and mode as the video in question or he would file appropriate proceedings against him in the court.