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April 2, 2019

Qureshi-Tareen tussle hurting govt’s performance

National

 
April 2, 2019

Highlights

  • The differences between various PTI groups are now trickling into the cabinet meetings as well
  • A verbal duel between Finance Minister Asad Umar and Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry was also reported recently
  • Hamid Mir said many of those speaking in favour of Jehangir Tareen today remained under pressure till sometime ago but used today’s opportunity to vent their anger

KARACHI: The Qureshi-Tareen tussle that emerged during the pre election period, have endured past the party level and now surfaced in the federal cabinet.

During Monday’s Geo News show Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Key Saath, anchor Shahzeb Khanzada said the differences among the two lobbies were reflected during the intra-party elections, over distribution of party tickets and for the influence and authority within the PTI.

Shahzeb said that while it is a common knowledge that some cabinet members belong to both the lobbies, but now the cabinet heavy weights have strongly identified themselves with either Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi or Jahangir Tareen. He said Dr Shireen Mazari, Shafqat Mehmood, Asad Umar, and Naeemul Haq are seen openly siding with the Qureshi group, while Fawad Chaudhry, Pervaiz Khattak and Umar Ayub are supporting the Jahangir Tareen lobby.

The junior ministers previously sitting on the fence are also seen switching sides. These differences, Shahzeb said, are now trickling into the cabinet meetings as well witnessed in the verbal duel between Finance Minister Asad Umar and Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry. Interestingly, however so far on Monday, only the Tareen’s lobby has come out in the support of the disqualified MNA, but nobody has come forward to support Qureshi.

Talking to the media on Monday, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi criticised Tareen for attending the government meetings, saying it provides Marriyum (PML-N) with an opportunity to criticise the government. Knowing fully well that Tareen attended the cabinet meeting at the invitation of the prime minister, the foreign minister suggested to him to be careful as he was disqualified form public office by the Supreme Court and his actions violate the apex court’s orders and those of the rules of business of the government.

Khanzada said these differences are now clearly impacting the government performance. He said while the state-run falls under Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, but the Prime Minister’s advisor Naeemul Haq is seen interfering in the affairs of the state TV. Similarly, Jehangir Tareen is seen fixing things in the Finance Ministry under Asad Umar.

Reportedly, Prime Minister Imran Khan seems to be silently watching the whole affair as a spectator, Shahzeb remarked. In the press huddle, when Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi was asked if he informed the prime minister , he evaded the reply.

Jahangir Tareen, while talking to a private TV channel programme said when the Finance Minister Asad Umar was asked in the cabinet meeting about the agriculture package, he didn’t know much and only at that stage the prime minister decided to call me (Tareen) in the cabinet meeting. Crticising the manner in which country’s economy is being run by the Finance Minister Asad Umar, Jehangir Tareen said timely decisions are important and if that is not done it hurts the national economy. This is exactly the same criticism being made about Asad Umar by seasoned economists and finance experts that the finance minister does not take timely action. In response to Qureshi’s attack, Tareen tweeted that he considers Imran Khan as his leader to whom he is answerable and remains committed to till his last.

In his commentary, senior anchorperson Hamid Mir said things have been simmering between these two leaders for a long time and many times in the past groups headed by Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Jehangir Tareen, have clashed in the cabinet, but this time Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood took an unexpected turn of bringing it out in the open.

Previously Finance Minister Asad Umar remained the target of Jehangir Tareen group’s attack. Asad on the face of it is neutral but belongs to the foreign minister’s lobby, Hamid said. He said many of those speaking in favour of Jehangir Tareen today remained under pressure till sometime ago but used today’s opportunity to vent their anger. Several ministers and PTI leaders have tweeted in favour of Jehangir Tareen, while many ministers and MNAs are with the foreign minister as well, he said.

The Qureshi group of ministers also include some ministers of state and a few cabinet heavy weights who have not taken part in Monday’s foray. Hamid said this discord is not limited to the Tarin and Qureshi factions, but serious differences also exist among many other cabinet ministers. Hamid said things can turn pretty serious if Prime Minister Imran Khan does not try to resolve these problems at the earliest.

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