Following the sacking of the KP Law Minister on the charge of selling his vote for money, the loss of the Nowhera seat to the PML(N) must have come as an even bigger shock to the PTI leadership. To review the situation the Prime Minister held a meeting in the Governor’s house Peshawar on Sunday that all PTI MNAs and MPAs from KP were required to attend. That 14 MNAs and 6 MPAs failed to turn up caused many to raise an eyebrow. Provincial minister Shaukat Youufzai maintained that the absent lawmakers had already informed the Prime Minister as well as Chief Minister Mehmood Khan about their prior engagements. One can understand that Murad Saeed and Omar Ayub, being federal ministers, and Asad Qaiser, being National Assembly Speaker, might have been allowed to be absent on account of the important tasks they are required to perform. But what about the other 11 MNAs? Of the six MPAs absenting themselves, two were not invited. But what happened to the remaining four who failed to turn up?
The report assumes special importance as it comes in the midst of differences within the PTI over the allotment of Senate tickets. Normally PTI MNAs and MPAs jump at any opportunity they can get to meet the otherwise inaccessible PM Imran Khan. This raises the question whether Mr Khan is gradually losing his charisma. The PM had to drop the names of some his closest aides from the final list of the PTI’s Senate nominees when he encountered strong opposition to them. The award of the ticket to Finance Minister Hafeez Sheikh nicknamed to a parachuter by a party MNA because of his being an unelected outsider and to Faisal Vawda who lied about his nationality while submitting his nomination papers as MNA had raised questions within the PTI regarding the high moral ground claimed by Mr Khan. While opposing the ticket for Ahad Khattak, a presumptuous Pervez Khattak had claimed that he could get even a piece of dead wood get elected from Nowshera. The boastful claim divided the party and led to its candidate’s humiliating defeat. How wide is the rift thus created in the PTI’s KP chapter remains unclear.
And now the moral: Mr Khan has proved himself as incompetent in maintaining party unity as in running the affairs of the country.