Monday Mar 07, 2022
LAHORE: Former senior minister Punjab Aleem Khan has joined Jahangir Khan Tareen's PTI faction with the aim to "save" the party after "loyalists were sidelined" following Prime Minister Imran Khan's rise to power.
Khan, addressing a press conference after a meeting at Tareen's residence, said if a no-confidence is moved against Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar, then the group would decide a future course of action accordingly.
The Opposition has upped the ante to move a no-confidence motion against the government in the national and Punjab assemblies. They have also contacted several PTI leaders, including Tareen.
The former provincial minister said he would not have been "sad" had PTI's popularity been growing, but lamented that the situation of the government was dismal.
"PTI voters and loyalists are upset over the dismal situation of the government in Punjab. Therefore, we decided that a like-minded [group] should be formed who had sacrificed for the party."
The ex-minister said he spoke to around 40 MPAs in the last four days, and a majority of them expressed concerns over the situation of the government in Punjab.
He noted that the former PTI secretary-general played an important role in the party's rise to power.
"We are thankful to him [...] he is sick at the moment, so I asked Nawani to hold the meeting at Tareen's residence. This was done in order to give a message to Tareen that despite his absence, he is not forgotten," he said.
Khan praised all the PTI members who "stood by Tareen in his difficult times", as he lauded the estranged party leader for remaining "determined to his cause".
Khan said it was still not clear why Tareen was not given importance after PTI came into power. "All those who struggled alongside Imran Khan for a "Naya Pakistan" were sidelined, and we still don't know the reason behind it."
"Maybe once a government is formed, new people surround the leader, and the loyalists — who supported the leader during his hard times — are cornered," Khan expressed.
He said Tareen has played an important role in PTI's rise to power, noting that the like-minded group would work to save the party. "Tareen will also be returning to Pakistan in a few days."
The development comes after Khan attended a meeting at Tareen's residence today to attend an important meeting of Tareen's PTI faction regarding the no-confidence motion, sources said.
The sources had said among the 40 Punjab MPAs that Khan had met, 10 of them were ministers, however, their names will be kept secret till the current political scenario becomes clear.
Ahead of the Opposition's plan to table the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan, PTI leader Khan has been contacted by the senior leadership of PML-N as well, sources said.
Responding to the press conference, according to Geo News, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Political Communication Shahbaz Gill said Khan was "a brother" and disputes often takes place "between siblings".
He admitted that anyone can have reservations regarding the way of governance, but noted that the PTI-led government was "ready to resolve the concerns" of the group.
"Aleem Khan has not yet issued a clear course of action [...] we are not worried, as these are our own people," the SAPM said.
After holding almost an hour-and-a-half-long meeting with Khan later in the day, the Sindh governor said the PTI leader expressed strong reservations with the Punjab government.
"These reservations are in the favour of our government," he said while addressing a press conference alongside other party leaders.
Ismail said he and his team would be leaving for Islamabad to meet the prime minister and lay down before him all the reservations of the former senior minister.
He hoped that PM Imran Khan would resolve the issues of the PTI leader as none of the reservations were against the ruling party's favour.
"But the last call will be of the prime minister," he said, as he hoped to resolve the matters in a day.
In 2020, after revelations in a Sugar Inquiry Commission report, investigations had been launched against Tareen, with the ties between the PTI leader and PM Imran Khan turning sour.
The following year, a separate group was formed by Tareen's loyalists in the PTI, who have recently made contact with the Opposition as it seeks to oust the government.
However, in an effort to placate the PTI leader, PM Imran Khan telephoned him to inquire about his health.
The conversation between PM Imran Khan and Tareen came amid increasing activities of the Opposition — PPP holding an "Awami March" and the Pakistan Democratic Movement's (PDM) bid to move a no-confidence motion against the premier.