Future of PTI’s government: Will the Opposition be able to bring in-house change?

Opposition is looking for an in-house change. PTI’s allies have announced to review their support in order to seek more power. What will happen? Will PM Imran have to compromise on principles?

PTI

PTI’s Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday formed three separate committees of the ruling party to hold dialogue with coalition partners to overcome differences and resolve pending matters. Analysts are mulling over the future of the government as it is struggling to maintain its alliance with other parties intact.

A meeting was held at the Prime Minister’s Office to discuss the relations between the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and its allies. The prime minister told the meeting that the dialogue process between the ruling party and its allies should be strengthened to remove all barriers between the two sides.

To facilitate this process, the premier formed three committees under the chairmanship of Defence Minister Pervaiz Khattak. A committee was formed with Privatisation Minister Asad Umar as the convener to hold dialogue with Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) and Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA). Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, PTI Sindh President Firdous Shamim Naqvi and MPA Haleem Adil Sheikh are the members of the committee.

Read More: Why is Prime Minister Imran Khan reluctant to replace CM Buzdar?

For talks with Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar has been assigned as the convener while Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood would be the members.

For talks with Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), Baluchistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) and Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP), the committee would be led by Pervaiz Khattak himself with National Assembly (NA) Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri and Mir Khan Muhammad Jamali as members of the committee.

It is pertinent to mention here that the government’s allies had announced they would review their alliance with the ruling PTI and had complained that the commitments made with them were not fulfilled.

In-house change is on the cards?

Recently, Opposition parties were reportedly working to bring an in-house change in the national assembly. In-house change refers to the replacement of Prime Minister Imran Khan with another member of the assembly. The Rehbar Committee, which was formed before the so-called Azadi March led by Maulana Fazl ur Rehman in Islamabad, was reportedly approaching several political leaders and allies of the government to ‘ditch’ the premier.

“The Rehbar Committee will start holding meetings with the allied parties of the government from next month to find out the solution to the prevailing crises especially diplomatic and economic. Since the PTI government has a thin margin (in the National Assembly) its coalition partners (PML-Q, MQM, and BNP-M) will have to decide whether they should continue providing support to the Imran Khan dispensation that plunged the country into a host of crises or plays their role in steering Pakistan out of the quagmire,” PML-N secretary general Ahsan Iqbal recently had told media.

Read More: MQM threatens again: Will Imran Khan bow down for keeping power?

To a question on whether the opposition was optimistic about an in-house change, Mr. Iqbal, who is also a member of the Rehbar Committee, said: “The government is so afraid of any such move that whosoever in the opposition speaks against it and is active in this respect is targeted by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) at its (government) behest. Earlier, the NAB had summoned Rehbar Committee convener Akram Khan Durrani (of JUI-F) and now I have been called by NAB on Monday (in Narowal Sports Complex investigation).”

The PML-N leader said the opposition believed that after the in-house change electoral reforms should be introduced before calling for the fresh elections in 2020. “In medical science, 2020 is referred to as a clear vision…so this clear vision should be adopted in 2020 in Pakistani politics too,” he said.

Angry MQM-P

Notably, PTI’s chairman and Prime Minister Imran Khan recently directed a government committee to meet the MQM-P leadership to resolve their grievances after the Karachi-based party received an offer from the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) to join the Sindh Government. Sources inside the government believe that MQM-P is building up pressure on the government to get maximum benefits. It is worth noting that besides other important offices, the Law Ministry is held by Farogh Naseem, a prominent leader of MQM-P.

Read More: Opposition Desperate for In-House Change: Will Khan survive?

The MQM-P has six seats in the national assembly and two of its members are in Prime Minister Imran Khan’s cabinet. In the 2018 election, PTI emerged as the largest party in the urban Sindh with 14 national assembly seats in Karachi. MQM-P showed reservations over the election results but became the part of the government after PTI leader Jahangir Tareen paid a visit to the MQM-P headquarters in Karachi’s Bahadurabad.

It is to be seen whether the government will be able to convince allies to stay  a part of the government or not.

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