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ISLAMABAD / PESHAWAR: The Pakis­tan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) announced on Saturday that it had decided to expel the Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) for a second time from the coalition government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, this time on a charge that the latter had differed with the former on the issue of Panama Papers leaks.

The announcement was made by provincial Information Minister Shah Farman at a news conference held at the KP House in the federal capital.

Responding to the PTI’s statement, chief of the QWP’s provincial chapter termed the move a violation of an agreement signed by the two parties in 2015.

Speaking at the press conference in Islamabad, Mr Farman said: “We had formed a coalition [government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa] with the QWP with good intentions, but the party differed [with PTI] over several issues... the most important of which was that they did not support our stance on the Panama Papers.”

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak would now take the legal steps required for the two parties to part ways, he added.

Decision criticised

The provincial chairman of the QWP and senior minister of the province, Sikandar Hayat Khan Sherpao, told Dawn that his party had signed an agreement with the PTI under which the two parties were bound to resolve any differences through a joint committee.

“Lately the PTI has not bothered to consult us,” he said.

The QWP’s spokesman, Tariq Khan, said that the PTI wanted the provincial assembly to pass a resolution calling upon Nawaz Sharif to step down from the position of prime minister soon after a joint investigation team looking into the allegations levelled against the Sharif family submitted its report to the Supreme Court.

However, the QWP did not agree and suggested instead that the provincial lawmakers should wait until the court gave its final verdict in the case. This was the only difference of opinion between the two parties, said the QWP’s spokesman.

He said the QWP had convened a meeting of its senior leaders on Sunday at which they would decide their party’s future course of action.

In the 2013 elections the QWP won 10 seats in the provincial legislature. After the formation of the coalition government, three MPAs of the QWP became ministers. However, following instructions from PTI chairman Imran Khan, Mr Khattak sacked two QWP MPAs on corruption charges on Nov 12, 2013.

Sikandar Sherpao, however, rejected the charges and said that his party had quit the coalition government because the PTI chief had forced the ministers to make illegal appointments.

The QWP rejoined the provincial government on the request of the PTI in October 2015. Before rejoining the government the QWP had signed an agreement with the PTI.

Published in Dawn, July 30th, 2017