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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Has Imran Khan kicked-off his campaign against Asif Ali Zardari?

News Analysis |

Chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Imran Khan has once again lashed out at the top leadership of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), demanding strict accountability of its co-chairman, Asif Ali Zardari and his sister, Faryal Talpur. While addressing a press conference on Wednesday, Khan said that Sindh cannot progress until it rids itself of Asif Zardari and Talpur, whom he accused of making money through corruption and sending it abroad.

Khan is on a unprecedently long visit to Sindh, days after his huge rally in PPP’s fiefdom in Sehwan. While imploring the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to take the corrupt to task in Sindh, Khan reiterated that Zardari and his ilk are Sindh’s mafia just like the Sharifs are in Punjab.

Read more: Imran more open to accountability than Sharifs?

Observers have pointed out to Khan’s focus on taking PPP to task in his talks and rallies. Often considered as a man only gunning for the ouster of Nawaz, Khan has umpteen times asserted that he will turn toward holding Zardari to account. Lately, the 65-year old has whipped up his tirade against the PPP.

Last week, Khan said that Zardari is the biggest disease in Sindh as he exploits poor people to eke out money and profits for himself. He had asserted that Asif Zardari’s ‘sugar mafia’ was responsible for usurping the rights of poor farmers in Sindh. “Zardari is the biggest beemaari of Sindh. He is behind political appointments in the province who are doing nothing but serving him,” he added. Khan has also demanded to make the JIT report of the PPP-supported Lyari gangster, Uzair Baloch, public.

Both chairman Bilawal Bhutto and Asif Zardari have slammed Khan in the recent past, giving strength to the views that Khan is a looming threat for both PML-N and PPP. The cricketer-turned-politician has always maintained that Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari resort to muk mukka politics in order to save each other’s corruption.

Read more: Amir Liaqat joining PTI: Social Media taunts…

Analysts believe that Khan’s extended stay in Karachi is a signal to the PPP that he means business. The 65-year old has ostensibly turned his focus toward the PPP because he feels that, after the indictment of the Sharif family, the PML-N is in tatters and the tightening noose will be difficult to handle for the ruling party.

However, there is another reason for Khan’s trip to Karachi: intra-party tiff. Pundits believe that the PTI is marred by infighting, disorganization and inept political nous at the grass root level. Imran will look to arrest the situation and galvanize the party before they enter the showdown in 2018. While admitting rifts within the party in Karachi, Khan said: “It is natural for a growing party to experience infighting”.

However, media reports suggested that Khan was miffed over the state of affairs in the Karachi Chapter. Reportedly, workers complained about PTI lawmaker from NA 250, Dr. Arif Alvi.

Read more: Zardari plans to exploit divisions within PML-N…

Though infighting is a common phenomenon in political parties, for PTI this could prove fatal. This is primarily because it has been chastised for not selling its narrative well enough to push voters to vote on the D-day. Khan has to take stock of the situation before the electioneering campaign reaches a climax. However, with the threat of NAB lingering over the heads of both, the PPP and the PML-N, Khan may have to confront the two political cousins in Zardari and Nawaz Sharif together.