ISLAMABAD: There is resentment within the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) ranks over its leadership’s decision to form electoral alliances with the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) at the local level despite Imran Khan’s repeated outbursts against PPP leaders during public meetings and news conferences.
Mr Khan’s latest tirade against the PPP came at a public meeting in Chakwal district’s Talagang area on Sunday, where both parties have entered into a seat adjustment for a Punjab Assembly by-election.
But the outburst has angered the PPP leadership so much that some office-bearers now want the party leadership to reverse its decision before polling day.
Farhatullah Babar, the PPP spokesperson, called for reviewing the decision to make seat adjustments with the PTI under the present circumstances.
PTI chairman’s ‘self-righteousness’ diminishes him, says Babar
“Personally, I would like to revisit the electoral alliance with the PTI, but a decision can only be taken by the party,” he said, vowing to raise the matter at a meeting of the party’s Central Executive Committee, scheduled to be held in Larkana on Wednesday.
Mr Babar said Imran Khan’s “self-righteousness and stubborn refusal to look inward only serves to diminish him. One may pity a person who diminishes himself so persistently”.
At the public meeting on Sunday, Mr Khan lashed out at the PPP leadership — particularly former president Asif Zardari — even when he was reminded by party spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry that they had a seat adjustment with the PPP in the area.
During his speech, Mr Khan created an embarrassing situation not only for the PPP, but for Mr Chaudhry as well, when he not only refused to stop criticism of the PPP leadership, but also told the gathering what Mr Chaudhry had whispered in his ear.
Dismissing his concerns, Mr Khan said he had just been told the party was in alliance with the PPP in Chakwal and that he should not criticise them. However, he added, it didn’t matter to him and that he would continue to raise his voice against the corrupt irrespective of their party affiliation.
Imran Khan has been alleging that the PPP and the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) have entered into a deal to save each other from accountability.
The PTI chief made this claim while referring to a slew of court decisions in favour of PPP leader Dr Asim Hussain, former minister Hamid Saeed Kazmi, model Ayyan Ali and ex-Sindh home minister Sharjeel Memon. The PTI chief even sees the return of PPP chief Asif Zardari as the result of a deal.
There had been an unannounced ceasefire between the PPP and the PTI over the past few months since they had a common viewpoint over the Panama Papers issue and both parties were seen cooperating during parliamentary proceedings.
But during a news conference last week, the PTI chief had ruled out the possibility of an alliance with the PPP, saying “it is not possible till Asif Zardari is head of the PPP”.
The by-election in Punjab Assembly’s constituency PP-23 (Chakwal-IV) will be held on April 18. The seat had fallen vacant after the death of PML-N MPA Malik Zahoor Anwar in February.
Speaking to Dawn, Punjab PPP president Qamar Zaman Kaira said that in future, “we shall be careful” while deciding on an electoral alliance with the PTI in any constituency.
The PPP leader said he was surprised to see Mr Khan “abusing the PPP” while speaking at a place where both parties had joined hands to give the ruling party a tough time. He said the PPP had extended its support to PTI as a “goodwill gesture” at the request of the PTI and other opposition parties.
Mr Kaira regretted that the PTI chief had no regard for anyone, saying: “What can we do when Imran does not listen to his own party men, and even embarrasses them publicly.”
Fawad Chaudhry of the Tehrik-i-Insaf said his party had not entered into any formal alliance with the PPP. The alliance in Chakwal was “a seat adjustment at the local level and has nothing to do with the PTI’s policies”, he added.
Asked if local seat adjustments had been made without seeking the permission of Imran Khan, who had recently declared that the PTI would not enter into any alliance with the PPP under the leadership of Mr Zardari, the PTI leader said that “principles” did not apply at the micro-level since “local political dynamics” played a major role in decisions regarding seat adjustments.
Meanwhile, PPP Senator Saeed Ghani responded to the PTI chief in the same coin, saying: “Imran Khan has turned into a psychopath.”
In a statement released on Sunday, Senator Ghani levelled allegations of corruption against Imran Khan’s father, saying he was dismissed from service. Now, Mr Ghani said, Imran Khan wanted others to forget his father’s sins by raising a hue and cry and levelling false accusations.
Senator Ghani also alleged that hardened terrorists were treated in his hospital, but no case was initiated against Imran Khan for aiding and supporting terrorists.