Fissure Within Imran’s Party Widens

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This was a defeat that Imran Khan had feared but not expected in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa since his relationship began to sour with the military establishment early this year, reports Asian Lite News

The internal rift in Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is widening especially after party’s defeat in local elections of Khyber Pakhtunkhawa.

Amid these cracks in the party, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Higher Education Minister Kamran Bangash has served a legal notice to his own party leader Arbab Mohammad Ali for accusing him of selling ticket of Peshawar city Mayor to a businessman, media reported.

The KP minister on Tuesday had served a legal notice on Ali after he was accused of selling ticket of Peshawar city Mayor to a wealthy businessman and receiving 20 million Pakistani rupees out of the total amount, 70 million Pakistani rupees, according to The News International report on Thursday.

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Ali is the brother of PTI MNA from Peshawar, Arbab Sher Ali and cousin of Arbab Shehzad, advisor to Prime Minister Imran Khan on Establishment.

He had applied for the PTI ticket for Peshawar Mayor seat but the party didn’t consider and instead gave the ticket to an Abu Dhabi-based businessman Rizwan Bangash, India Blooms reported.

Kamran Bangash (Credit: Twitter/Kamran Bangash)

Later, Ali released a video alleging that some senior PTI leaders including Governor Shah Farman and Higher Education Minister Kamran Bangash had sold party ticket to Rizwan Bangash for Rs70 million.

However, Rizwan lost the Mayor poll to the joint candidate of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazlur Rahman (JUIF), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), and Qaumi Watan Party (QWP).

According to The News International, though there were multiple factors behind Rizwan’s loss but disunity of the PTI leadership and particularly the role of the party’s elected representatives were major reasons.

Crack in PTI, Army relations

The defeat of PTI in local elections of Khyber Pakhtunkhawa shows a clear sign of crack between the military establishment and the ruling party.

Khan’s ascendancy to the Islamabad throne was made possible by the army, especially Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI and is often referred to as the hybrid regime showed signs of crumbling after the resounding defeat of PTI, reported The Singapore Post.

This was a defeat that Khan had feared but not expected in KP since his relationship began to sour with the military establishment early this year.

But the army quietly looked the other way and let the pins fall on the PTI candidates. This is the second round of the battle between partners of the hybrid regime.

In a first, Imran Khan had shown the military down by deliberately delaying the announcement of the appointment of ISI chief. The Army chief wanted a change in who heads the ISI early this year. The army declared Lt Gen Nadeem Ahmed Anjum as the new ISI chief whereas Lt Gen Faiz Hameed, who had helped Imran Khan to win the electoral battles on behalf of the army, was moved out as Peshawar corps commander.

Imran Khan sat on the Army chief’s recommendation till rumours and conspiracy theories became thick enough to be cut with a blunt knife. Khan mulled all the options–to reject the army chief’s recommendations or to accept them. He chose the third option–delay the official declaration. It showed he was no longer in the same books as General Javed Bajwa.

The army took the insult and kept quiet, reported The Singapore Post.

The army played its hand in the KP elections. There could be many reasons for the PTI to get such a drubbing on the ground, but one remains the key to the game, the army’s decision to stay off any of the tricks which it deployed in the 2018 elections. This ‘hands off’ policy left PTI candidates to fight on their own and lose badly.

Protest over national security policy

Senators belonging to the Opposition parties in Pakistan resorted to protest on Wednesday over the governments decision to bypass the Parliament in the making of the National Security Policy (NSP) approved earlier this week, Express Tribune reported.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Sherry Rehman said the government did not present the draft of the security policy in the House. The PPP leader said the policy that has been approved is nothing but a piece of paper that is contrary to the ground realities, the report said.

She further criticised the government over a Bill that provides complete autonomy to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) in line with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) demands. Sherry asked what sort of security is the government talking about when the IMF is dictating the economy, and the SBP is being sublet.

Imran Khan (Photo IN)

The PPP Senator’s speech was interrupted by a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senator, Mohsin Aziz, who advised her to get straight to the point instead of making a speech. Rehman took offence to the remarks and staged a walkout in protest.

National Security Advisor (NSA) Moeed Yusuf had announced on Tuesday that the federal cabinet has approved Pakistan’s first-ever National Security Policy (NSP).

“It is a truly historic achievement; a citizen-centric comprehensive National Security policy with economic security at the core will now be pursued in earnest,” the NSA said in a tweet.

A day earlier, it was reported that the National Security Committee (NSC) approved the NSP 2022-2026, which aims at bolstering the country’s economic security and tackling external as well as internal challenges. (with inputs from IANS/ANI)

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