Picking up the pieces

The launch of a new party shows the lie of the land

The announcement by Jahangir Tareen that a new party, the Pakistan Istehkam Party,would be formed,  in the presence of a large number of those who had left the Pakistan Tehrik Insaf showed that they wanted a platform from which to continue their political journey. It is possible to identify three strands of PTI dissidents at the announcement of the formation of the party. Mr Tareen represents the oldest strand, as well as the South Punjab group, which had at one time switched to the PTI from the PML(N), but which has now left the han PTI. Mr Abdul Aleem Khan is one of those who left the party after Mr Imran Khan was removed as Prime Minister, being a disappointed candidate for Punjab Chief Minister. Mr Imran Imail, the former Sindh Governor, led a delegation from Karachi, which included former federal minister Ali Zaidi and former MNA Mahmood Maulvi, all of whom had left the PTI after May 9, whether in righteous outrage at the attacks or because of pressures by the establishment. One of those meeting Mr Tareen was former Punjab minister Murad Raas, who had announced his own Democrats Group. His presence was perhaps symbolic of the confusion that afflicts PTI men who have left the party. Indeed, it probably affects those who have not yet left the party, but who have been becoming increasingly uncomfortable as the crusade against corruption became something else on May 9.

The new party will enable them to concentrate their minds on the search for a new political platform, one which will enable the ideology of the PTI to be carried forward, which sought to provide a voice to those who were not traditional politicians, and who were opposed to the perceived corruption and dynasticism of the other mainstream parties. It will also provide a possibility for those who have remained loyal to the PTI.

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The new outfit will have many charges to answer, but the one that might cause the most problems will be that it is merely a King’s Party. Certainly, the faces gathering together are familiar, not just because they were parachuted into the PTI, but because they had been in previous parties. However, the new party does not yet seem to have any ambitions beyond being a pressure group. That strategy is obvious, and thus while enjoying the advantage of simplicity, may have a limited appeal to the electorate.

The Editorial Department of Pakistan Today can be contacted at: [email protected].


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