LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) stalwart and Punjab senior minister Abdul Aleem Khan has announced resigning from his office as he lost interest in the government primarily after not being considered for the province’s chief executive slot or any other active role. He had also stopped turning up in most of the provincial cabinet meetings.
Aleem met Prime Minister Imran Khan early on Friday and convinced the latter to allow him to tender his resignation on the pretext that he owned a news channel and wanted to maintain impartiality by stepping down.
“I met PM Imran Khan and convinced him that I should not hold any government office to maintain impartiality as being owner of News Channel Samaa. I requested [the PM] that the Punjab government may accept my resignation as senior minister/food minister,” Aleem tweeted.
In another tweet, Aleem stated that he was obliged to the prime minister for accepting his request. “I am sending my resignation to the Punjab chief minister,” he tweeted.
Convinces PM that as a news channel owner he should be impartial
When contacted, Aleem Khan said he would meet Chief Minister Usman Buzdar on Saturday (today) and submit his resignation. He said he had reached Lahore after meeting the prime minister.
Considered to be a close aide of Prime Minister Imran Khan, Aleem hoped to become Punjab chief minister and had made several attempts to win the slot. In his first tenure, Aleem had occupied the 90 Shahrah-e-Quaid-e-Azam, a part of the Chief Minister’s Secretariat, and wanted to at least act like deputy chief minister. However, he could not succeed as Mr Buzdar secured unwavering support of the premier.
Opposition PML-N had alleged that Buzdar suited the prime minister most as the latter wanted to run Punjab remotely from Islamabad.
As soon as Aleem started lobbying for the chief minister’s slot and giving a tough time to Buzdar, he was called by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in a case of assets beyond means. He was subsequently arrested in Feb, 2019. Aleem then resigned as senior minister/ local government minister.
He was granted bail by the Lahore High Court after more than three months, but he was not immediately inducted in the Punjab cabinet. It took him 14 months to return to the cabinet as a senior minister and later he was offered food department and denied the local government portfolio.
Despite having invested heavily [in the party] and becoming instrumental, among others, in the party’s rise, in the emerging scenario had dashed all his ambitions, reducing him to almost a non-entity.
Aleem had also attempted to resign some four months ago as he had sought permission from the prime minister, but the latter did not agree. After the premier’s refusal, Aleem was on record saying his businesses needed him more and the politics did. He had been vocal enough to say there was no role for him to play in the politics right now as things were going smooth for the party.
At personal level, he said, he had reset his priorities as he had been preoccupied with politics before and even after the 2018 elections and his businesses suffered badly because of this. “Aleem Khan had started drifting away from politics as well as the party and wanted to keep a safe distance with the party, while staying within its ranks,” a source said.
Aleem was now mainly stationed at Islamabad or in Karachi and making investments in the electronic media, banking and real estate sectors,” a source in the cabinet told Dawn.
“Ever since Aleem Khan was denied chief minister’s slot, or any other active role in the government, which was his priority, he gradually lost interest in the toothless slots,” the source added.
Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2021