Fights between Asad Umar, JKT and SMQ did not let PTI deliver, reveals Fawad Chaudhry

Fawad Chaudhry revealed on Tuesday that many quarrels between senior leaders Asad Umar, Jehangir Tareen and Shah Mahmood Qureshi did not let the party deliver as per its commitment. PM Khan has given six months to his team.

Fawad Chaudhry

Fawad Chaudhry, Federal Science and Technology Minister, has admitted that his party has failed to deliver largely due to internal conflicts and petty politics.  In an interview with an international news organization, reveals Fawad Chaudhry that as the government was formed, there were many quarrels between senior leaders Asad Umar, Jehangir Tareen and Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

The internal strife within the party hurt the government, opined Fawad. “Imran’s core team broke up. The new people are frankly not aligned with his idea and maybe don’t have the capacity to do so. The infighting has caused a lot of harm to the party and its political cadre.”

Fawad Chaudhry claimed Prime Minister Imran Khan has told the federal cabinet that if it does not perform within six months, matters may escalate.

In the interview, Fawad stressed that there were great expectations from the prime minister and the PTI government. It came into power on the promise of reforming the entire system, not just fixing nuts and bolts, he said.

He added that PM Imran’s vision of systemic change was very clear before he came into power. The federal minister further said that it is the government’s own shortcomings that it cannot deliver.

The government runs on two things – politics and governance, if there is a lack of balance between the two, matters can go awry at any time, he elaborated.

Giving an example of the infighting within the ruling party, he said: “When Asad Umar was the finance minister, Jehangir Tareen made every effort to get him removed and when Asad Umar came back, he ousted Jehangir Tareen.”

Read More: Is PTI’s government ready to reform Madrassahs?

The science minister added that multiple meetings were held between Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Jehangir Tareen for reconciliation but to no avail.

Ruling coalition stands compromised?

A few days ago, BNP-M chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal said that his party is no longer part of the ruling coalition. Mengal said his demands were not met by the government.

Mengal’s six-point agenda includes recovery of missing persons, implementation of the National Action Plan, implementation of six per cent quota for Balochistan in the federal government, immediate repatriation of Afghan refugees and the construction of dams in the province to resolve the acute water crisis.

Wheat crisis: How was JKT thrown out of the party?

It is important to note that earlier this year, following the shortage of wheat flour in the country and the subsequent price hike, sugar had also gone missing from the market. Taking notice of the situation, the prime minister had formed a committee to find out those responsible for the crises. JKT was thrown out of the power corridor due to internal strife, reveals Fawad Chaudhry.

The inquiry report on sugar crisis had named Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) senior leader Jahangir Khan Tareen, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid’s (PML-Q) Moonis Elahi and Bakhtiar’s relative as the beneficiaries of the price hike.

Prime Minister Imran Khan reshuffled the federal cabinet which saw Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar being replaced by Syed Fakhar Imam as the federal minister for national food security.

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Bakhtiar was instead been given the charge for the Ministry of Economic Affairs. Bakhtiar replaced Hammad Azhar, who was made the federal minister for industries. Industries were being overlooked by Abdul Razak Dawood, an adviser to the prime minister on commerce, textile, industries, and production and investment.

“No longer close to Imran Khan”: reveals Fawad Chaudhry

Tareen acknowledged in a TV show that he was no longer as close to Prime Minister Imran Khan as he used to be but maintained that the premier was still his friend and that he continues to stand by the PM’s cause.

“I’m in touch with Imran Khan on WhatsApp and that is likely to continue. I have no issues with him, the party or his vision for the country. As prime minister, it’s his discretion to work with whoever he wants. I have no bitterness with his decision making. He is the prime minister of Pakistan, after all,” Tareen said during the show.

He also acknowledged that he has a long-running conflict with Azam Khan, PM Imran’s principal secretary. “When we came into power, I had a different vision on how to govern the country. He (Azam Khan) has a different one. I had told Azam Khan that the government’s job was not to enact incremental change but to transform the entire country,” Tareen said.

“Azam Khan disagrees with my vision for the country because he realises that enacting a transformative agenda would leave him powerless. I have always been against bureaucratic hurdles,” Tareen explained, alleging that Azam Khan was behind the FIA investigation against him.

As reveals Fawad Chaudhry a vast majority of the prime minister’s cabinet agreed with his vision of the country. “I think 70 per cent of his cabinet agrees with what I say. But the prime minister fully trusts Azam Khan. But he also knows me. He knows the kind of man I am. He knows I get things done,” Tareen said.

Read More: Are PTI’s government and Establishment on the same page?

Defending the decision to export sugar, JKT said that the decision could only be proved wrong if there was no stock of sugar in the country. He said that the country had 4,57,000 tonnes of surplus sugar reserves in November last year. He added that no one pockets the subsidy price and rather the subsidy had helped increase the country’s exports.

JKT said that Pakistan had benefitted up to Rs 30 billion from Rs 3bn subsidy on sugar export. Referring to his provision of sugar to the Utility Stores Corporation (USC), Tareen said that despite a rise in sugar prices, he had provided 20,000 tonnes of sugar to Utility Stores at Rs 67/kg which benefitted the people by Rs 250m.

As reveals Fawad Chaudhry it is to be seen whether PM Imran Khan manages to reorganize his party and the ruling coalition or not. The six month time period has been given to everyone concerned.

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