LAHORE: As a section of (electronic) media on Saturday aired news about “resignation” by Senior Minister Aleem Khan, terming it a jolt to the provincial government of the PTI, Mr Khan, talking to Dawn, explained that though he had made his mind, he would still wait for Prime Minister Imran Khan’s nod in this regard.
“I did inform Imran Khan [about his intent to resign] and waiting for his [PM’s] nod,” he said. “Some two months ago, I had sought permission of Imran Khan to quit the ministerial position in the Punjab cabinet. Khan asked me to wait for his nod, and that is what I am doing right now. I have not resigned, but certainly in a lame duck situation,” the provincial food minister said.
Explaining his “decision”, Aleem says there is no role for him to play in the politics right now as things are going smooth for the party.
Sees no role for him to play in the present situation
“But, at personal level, I have reprioritised things. Politics, in the pre and post-2018 scenarios kept me awfully busy and my business suffered badly. I was literally taking business decision sitting in public rallies or protests. But that was the need of the hour then. Not anymore! My businesses need me and politics does not. It is simple as that. I am just waiting for the decision by the [PTI] chairman to formally furnish my resignation as a minister in Punjab.”
Some Punjab government insiders interpret Aleem’s “resignation threat” differently.
“It is a fact that he [Aleem] had conveyed his decision [to resign] a few months back and also stopped turning up at the provincial cabinet meetings. He is stationed mainly at Islamabad or in Karachi and making investments in the electronic media, banking and real estate sectors, rendering himself irrelevant to the affairs of the Punjab government, where he is the senior minister, ranking only second to the chief minister, when it comes to official hierarchy,” an insider told Dawn.
“Ever since he was denied chief minister’s slot, which was his priority, he progressively lost interest in lower slots,” says one of his colleagues in the government.
“Arrest by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) under his own government only further dampened his spirits, and he started drifting away from politics as well as the party. The fall of Jehangir Khan Tareen, who had invested heavily [in the party] like Aleem Khan, from prime ministerial favour only reminded him what could happen to people like him.
“All these events only convinced Aleem to rethink his strategy and priorities, and keep a safe distance from the party while still staying within its ranks,” he explains.
Published in Dawn, September 12th, 2021