What’s bubbling within the PTI?

Much is happening within the PTI to raise concerns as to what the remaining days of the party’s tenure will look like

Some of the latest developments in the ranks of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) have raised concerns in some quarters about the longevity of its government. Some political analysts foresee Imran Khan, the chairperson of the PTI, and his government not completing its remaining term.

Some disagree and do not consider the formation of the Jahangir Khan Tareen bloc, and reemergence of PTI’s disgruntled MPAs (Members of Provincial Assembly) over Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar’s ‘inability’ to combat corruption, a considerable threat. Some analysts have suggested that these episodes are being deliberately highlighted to keep more serious issues out of public debate.

Interestingly, Senator Faisal Vawda, a former federal minister and a very close friend of the PM, has stated in a TV programme that whether the PM wants to keep Buzdar as head of the provincial government or bring in a successor is for the PM to decide in his sole discretion.

“We should be careful while expressing our opinions. This country can only move forward with a very good equation. All of us should try not to interfere in one another’s work as defined in the constitution”, he adds.

According to some reports, six federal ministers have been called for a meeting with a ‘powerful stakeholder’ to highlight serious concerns and reservations over Buzdar’s performance. This is not the first time that such apprehensions and anxieties have been conveyed to the prime minister directly or indirectly. There has long been a demand for better governance in the largest province of the country.

Additionally, several politicians from the ruling party have conveyed to the PM directly at times, and several times through the media that the ‘powerful’ stakeholder is unhappy with the chief minister’s performance. Now Vawda’s statement has grabbed attention in the media and other quarters. Such statements do create an impression that the government and other state institutions are no longer on the same page, or perhaps that there is a rift between them.

“Vawda cannot make such a statement about ‘institutions’ without the permission of the PM”, says Mazhar Barlas, an Islamabad-based political analyst. According to him, “Vawda’s statement is an example of frustration and anxiety in the PM’s camp following the formation of the JKT bloc”.

Tahir Malik, a political analyst, is absolutely not ready to accept that Vawda’s statement shows any frustration or that any blocs within the PTI carry a serious threat to the government.

Barlas strongly argues that most of the parliamentarians in JKT camp “do not represent a great political independent of instructions from ‘someone’”. He says that Imran Khan’s sloppy attitude has brought himself onto a slippery slope where circumstances are turning against him.

Since its inception the government has been under pressure from PTI members on one hand and the coalition partners like Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) and Muthahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) on the other. At one stage, Imran Khan and the PML-Q leaders were not on talking terms. Prior to the emergence of the Tareen bloc, a group of disgruntled MPAs in the Punjab had pressured Imran Khan a couple of times. The group has resurfaced recently.

Come what may, things do get settled in favour of Imran Khan each time, says Naeem Ashraf Butt, a senior analyst.

“Every coalition partner and member of the PTI is indeed aware that no other option is being considered. Therefore, reservations expressed by various coalition partners and the political stir within the PTI camp will keep on coming and disappearing without even creating a considerable bump for the government”, Butt says.

The demands of a dissatisfied group of PTI MPAs of allocating development funds for their constituencies and some bureaucrats have been accepted, he continues. He says they have been promised that these things will be taken care of. The separate group no longer exists, he says.

“Many parliamentarians of the Tareen bloc hold the same kind of reservations. These are being treated with the same method”, he adds. Therefore, Butt believes that the government is neither frustrated nor under any kind of pressure.

Tahir Malik, a political analyst, is absolutely not ready to accept that Vawda’s statement shows any frustration or that any blocs in the PTI carry a serious threat to the government.

“Imran Khan’s body language in the recent Balochistan trip should be enough to show that he is not facing any challenges – neither from the opposition nor from any other quarter”, he says.

“Vawda’s statement and formation of JKT blocs etc must be seen as a well-planned move to make non-issues look like important issues. This serves the purpose of keeping important public issues away from the limelight. It keeps the common man disengaged from state affairs,” Malik believes.

He thinks there will be more political drama in the near future to keep the public and the media “busy discussing non-issues and crafting conspiracy theories but without any conclusion”.

The author is a staff member.  He can be reached at

warraichshehryar @gmail.com

What’s bubbling within the PTI?