PESHAWAR: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Members of National Assembly from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa opposed to resignation from the lower house have formed their own group and elected their own chairman to serve as focal person within the party and the parliament, a party insider told Dawn on Saturday.
A party parliamentarian told Dawn that the group consists of 13 MNAs. They have elected MNA Gulzar Khan as their leader. A vice chairman of the group has also been elected.
Gulzar Khan, a retired bureaucrat who had joined PTI shortly before last year’s general election, was elected MNA from NA-4, Peshawar-4, receiving 55,134 votes against a PML -N candidate, Nasir Khan Musazai. He has a heart condition and has been staying put in Peshawar for medical treatment.
The party insider said Gulzar Khan was conveyed the decision of his appointment as leader of the dissident MNAs, along with the name of the deputy chairman, on Friday evening. The source claimed that more MNAs from PTI were considering joining the dissident group.
The meeting of the dissident MNAs was held after behind-the-scenes deliberation following the PTI core committee’s statement about the resignation of its lawmakers. A member of the dissident group disclosed to Dawn names of some of the MNAs who, he claimed, had decided not to resign their seats.
The convener of the dissident PTI parliamentarians from KP was not available for comment and his cell phone remained switched off.
“We had told Imran Khan that we would resign only if the KP chief minister, ministers and MPAs resigned. We will not quit our seats without them,” the dissident said.
He said that the party leadership’s attempt to save their government in KP and at the same time asking MNAs to resign, smacked of opportunism. “There is no principle here,” the lawmaker said.
Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who submitted resignation of PTI parliamentarians to the Speaker of National Assembly Secretariat, said he had not counted how many of the 34 party lawmakers have resigned, but added that two or three MNAs were out of the country and would submit their resignations upon their return.
A party leader said only three MNAs from KP have so far not submitted their resignations and they had been asked to furnish them as soon as possible.
A source in the federal capital, however, claimed the PTI had submitted seventeen resignations, some addressed to the chairman of the party, rather than the Speaker of National Assembly.
Jehangir Tareen, a PTI leader who is regarded as Imran Khan’s confidant, did not reply to a question about the development.
Another lawmaker said the decision to quit the National Assembly was arbitrary and had been made without consulting the party’s legislators. “We have been pushed into a blind alley,” the lawmaker bemoaned.
“Even if we resign and our resignations are accepted, what next,” the party legislator wondered. “Nobody seems to have an answer to this,” he said, adding that the question was raised at the party’s core committee meeting too.
Published in Dawn, August 24th, 2014