PTI MNA Riaz Fatyana’s disclosure to the Public Accounts Committee that Climate Change Minister of State Zartaj Gul Wazir had quarrelled with PM’s Climate Change Advisor Malik Amin Aslam at the Pakistan pavilion at the Glasgow COP 26 is sensational enough, and it is not mitigated by Mr Aslam’s blanket denial, and his explanation that Ms Wazir had returned to Pakistan to attend the recent joint session of Parliament. Mr Aslam did express surprise that a party MNA had made the disclosure, but that merely seems to be in line with a party tradition of letting it all hang out. Perhaps the most egregious example was the dispute between former Secretary-General Jehangir Tareen and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Quresni, which at one time threatened to split the party.
There seem to be two reasons for this. The first is the friction caused by the induction of electables within the party, including those with outstanding issues between them. The second is the seeming inability of PTI chief Imran Khan to mediate such squabbles in private, and prevent them becoming public in such explosive fashion. One of Mr Khan’s handicaps has been his slim majority in Parliament, which means he can say nothing either to Ms Wazir or Mr Fatyana, for fear of their merely abstaining. However, he was famed for his man management when captain of the national cricket team, when he had to handle some temperamental players, getting the best out of them.
It was particularly unfortunate that this unseemly display took place abroad, at one of the most well-attended and high-profile international events of recent times. Not only was Pakistan made a laughing-stock in the comity of nations, but free ammunition was handed to India, which never misses an opportunity to downgrade Pakistan. Before some much bigger embarrassment is caused, Mr Khan must exert himself, and send the message that the country’s imade is not to be treated so cavalierly.