LAHORE: After the ‘open revolt’ by over a dozen Punjab Assembly members of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), who chose to side with their party’s disgruntled leader Jahangir Khan Tareen, facing cases in sugar scam, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) believes that had the 10-party alliance of the opposition – Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) – been intact, the Buzdar government would have been sent packing after this episode.
“Today after Jahangir Tareen showed 14 MPAs from Punjab [siding] with him (besides some MNAs) it was a no-confidence move against the struggling Buzdar government. Had PDM been intact, it would have sent the PTI Punjab government home comfortably,” PPP Punjab secretary general Chaudhry Manzoor told Dawn on Wednesday.
The PPP leader said it was obvious now that the PML-N was hand in glove with the PTI to save its government, both in the Centre and Punjab.
“The PML-N ‘dissolved’ the PDM only to benefit Imran Khan and the PTI. The PML-N has given an understanding to the government and the powers that be that it will let the PTI complete its tenure both in the Centre and Punjab that is why the PPP has become its (PML-N) target and not Khan’s party,” he said and regretted the opposition could have cashed in on the ‘revolt’ by Tareen and the lawmakers (close to him).
Some Punjab lawmakers of the PTI on Wednesday accompanied sugar baron Jahangir Tareen to the court where he and his son appeared for an extension in their interim bail in cases filed by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) related to money laundering and fraud. The lawmakers said they had gathered to seek ‘justice’ for Mr Tareen.
On the other hand, the PMLN said that Mr Tareen had to pay the price for the favours he extended to his friend Imran Khan. “Every person who extended favours to Imran Khan repented like Jahangir Tareen,” PPP Punjab information secretary Ms Azma Bokhari said at a press conference here on Wednesday.
“Today Mr Tareen showed his power (outside the court) by bringing MPAs and MNAs with him. What message he has given to the PTI government. Tareen knows who is taking action against him,” she said and added the PML-N had gone through the accountability of Imran Khan and now it was the time for Mr Tareen to face it.
Ms Bokhari also demanded punishment for all those involved in the sugar scam. She also lashed out at the premier holding him responsible for causing the sugar and wheat crises in the country and making the lives of the people miserable.
She questioned Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) Shahzad Akbar as to why no action was taken against federal minister Khusro Bakhtiar and his family members, despite being named in the sugar scam.
PML-N’s allegation against PPP
The PML-N seems to have declared an open war on the fellow opposition party PPP, accusing it of trying to buy Nawaz league lawmakers in Punjab to secure a Senate seat.
“A PPP candidate (former premier Raja Pervez Ashraf’s son-in-law) had tried to buy the PML-N MPAs from Punjab for his election to the Senate,” Azma Bokhari said and added that the party had evidence in this regard.
She said the PPP had seven seats in Punjab, but it tried to buy PML-N lawmakers votes to get its candidate elected from the province.
Reacting strongly to the allegation, a PPP leader who is close to Raja Pervez Ashraf, termed it baseless.
“In fact, PML-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif had asked the PDM to field its candidate as it had 22 extra votes. Because of that Raja Azeem was fielded, but the PML-N struck a deal with the PTI and got all Senators from Punjab elected unopposed,” he said and added that before the polls Mr Azeem had withdrawn his papers.
Chaudhry Manzoor said the PML-N had launched a fresh attack on the PPP after striking a deal with the government and the powers that be. “When the PPP questioned PML-N’s deal with PTI on Senate polls in Punjab, the party of the Sharifs came up with another rubbish allegation,” he said.
Published in Dawn, April 8th, 2021